Patron Saints of Nothing

I read this book only because my 17-year-old stepson read it in summer school and thought it was excellent. Said stepson was in summer school because he SPECTACULARLY failed American Lit, and he hates to read, so I was deeply intrigued. What about this book did he like?

It was about a kid who visited family in the Philippines to try to learn what happened to his cousin, who tragically and unexpectedly died. I don’t think the plot was what my stepson liked; I think he liked that it was a story about real people in the current world, and it was in a voice that he related to. The protagonist is a high school kid who has a smart phone and uses social media for everything. He swears in his internal narrative. He has conflict with his parents but they love each other. I think high school kids are still reading Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies, and those just don’t fully reflect reality for kids today.

So I was not the audience for this book, and I didn’t like it that much. But, I learned stuff. I didn’t know that there was a lethal war on drugs in the Philippines. I didn’t know anything about how Filipino people live. I’ve never known anybody from the Philippines, and I’ve never read a book that was set there. So, I mean, that’s cool.


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