The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas (and a few other random notes)

Saturday afternoon, I worked on a paper that is due on Tuesday. In the middle of the night, I woke up and realized what the one thing is that the paper needs, that one paragraph that ties it all together. It was so obvious. Of course, on Sunday morning when I woke up, I couldn’t remember what that one thing was. Now the million dollar question is: Was it actually the thing my paper needs, or was it some kind of insanity like, “Put more jello in the washing machine!” We will probably never know. (Would jello in the washing machine actually help my paper? We will probably never know that, either.)

While I was finishing up the paper, Mike and I watched The Sound of Music. Which Mike cannot remember ever seeing before. Now, I am not the romantic in this relationship, nor am I the one who prefers musicals. But, dang, that is a good movie. It still makes me laugh and sing along. Watching it filled me with joy. I might like musicals more if they were more like that. I even got a little swoony when Maria and the Captain were in the gazebo, and I kind of hate the, “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good,” song. Too bad Mike slept from the big party all the way through to the performance at the festival. I tried to wake him up, but it was a lost cause.

While Mike was watching SNL, I ended up finishing The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas, which I first heard about on Sara Zarr’s blog. (That link is an excellent interview with the author on the book and faith in YA literature. Go and read it.) I know what you are thinking: Kari is maybe a little bit obsessed with saints. And possibly that is true. I like history and faith and people who stand up for what they believe. Saints combine all of those things, and there’s also that magical, mystical element that draws me in: miracles that can’t be explained except by faith. Reading about saints reminds me that the things I believe can’t always be understood.

The Possibilities of Sainthood is about Antonia, a fifteen year old who wants two things: to be a saint and to get her first kiss. Every month since she was seven, she has written to the Pope, suggesting possible saints such as The Patron Saint of Secrets or The Patron Saint of Figs. So far, no luck. And Antonia is pretty sure that the love of her life, Andy Rotellini, is going to notice her any day now and give her that first kiss she has been dreaming of. Meanwhile, she works in her mother’s store, deals with her grandmother (who is losing her memory), goes to school, and tries to sort out her feelings about her best guy friend, Michael. And, of course, there’s pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. I dare you to read this and not get a little hungry.

This book was absolutely delightful. Antonia has a realistic, hilarious voice. Her obsession with saints, her supportive best friend, her relationship with her mother, and her realization that love looks a little bit different than she had thought made her a wonderful protagonist, one I wouldn’t mind revisiting in the future. I’d recommend this book for anyone who believes in the possibilities of love and faith. And pasta. Donna Freitas is definitely going to be on my list of YA authors to pay attention to in the future.

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