Ten Thousand Saints

When I saw that Ann Patchett has lent her name along with a fabulous quote to the book’s cover, I grabbed this off the library shelf. Surely, if Ann liked it, so would I, right?


Ten Thousand Saints is a coming of age tale set in the late 80s, following young Jude Keffy-Horn as he transitions from wayward junkie to the straight edge lifestyle. I will say this—it’s beautiful prose. Henderson can most definitely write. My problem was that I just couldn’t seem to engage with the characters. Teddy, Jude’s best friend, was the only character I felt as if I could connect with, and since he meets an unfortunate end early on, I struggled to continue to read. Jude’s grief, his sorta-sister Eliza’s guilt and confusion, and Teddy’s brother Johnny’s dualism should have kept me intrigued, but, sadly, no.

I certainly wouldn’t dissuade anyone from reading this, because at its core, it’s bittersweet, a little heavier than a standard chick-lit book, but doesn’t suck the energy right out of you. It just wasn’t for me. Try it, and tell me what you think. I’d like to know if anyone things Les is just a giant A-hole, or completely bumfuzzled at the relationship thing.

Ten Thousand Saints
Eleanor Henderson

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