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Saint Mary Blue Paperback – Dec 1 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Backinprint.Com (Dec 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595138853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595138852
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 757 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,337,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
When you can't call for help. June 21 2000
By Anthony Hinde - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure what prompted me to read this book. Take a look at that cover art, not very inspirational. But it is written by Longyear and his work is usually good. It's not that this book is full of adventure or has a rich plot line. It doesn't even have exotic locations or lots of sex. What it does have, in truck loads, is empathy for the human condition. The main character is Jacob Randecker. He is a thinly veiled version of the author himself. They say that autobiographies are usually crap but then they also say write what you know. Whatever the case this book is undeniably excellent.

Jacob is an addict. He is addicted to alcohol and prescription medications. But then that's the most common kind. He doesn't think that he needs help but his wife and his friends, (the ones he has left), are adamant that he does. They use all of the pressure that they can, to get him to go to a rehab center called Saint Mary's. This is an actual hospital in the U.S.

The novel takes us through the program with Jacob and his group. We come to love Jake and each of his group. We also fall for the members of the hospital staff that we meet. It is that sort of book. I hope writing this book was cathartic for Longyear because reading it sure was for me.

I want to leave you with a small section from the dust jacket that I think may have helped my decision to read this book:
- One third will make it the first time around.
- One third will have to try again.
- One third are already dead. It just takes them a while to lie down.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
One author's journey from denial to health. Sept. 17 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is Barry B.'s journey through drug and alcohol detox, thinly disguised as fiction. For anyone who has ever wondered about this process, the personal stories, justifications, and revelations may be more than you bargained for; for those of us who have had some experience with rehab it will probably cause painful memories to resurface. Longyear is a dab hand at breathing life into characters and making situations ring true. You will want to stay with this book to find out who survives, who "re-tread", and who just can't make it without their addictions. It's worth trying to find!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Reality Bites Dec 2 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a chronicle of Barry Longyear's experience in a drug and alchohol rehab, written as a fictional work. It is a gutsy, no-holds-barred account of the roller coaster ride that is detox and recovery. Longyear, a die-hard atheist, writes beautifully of the struggle to find "a power greater than yourself" to make the program work. The characters are hilariously funny and poignant, witty and emotionally wretching at the same time. The plot draws you into their lives so that you root for the ones who make it and cry for the ones who do not. Longyear stresses addiction as a disease, not an easy or popular concept for "normal" people, but a true one nevertheless. This is as real and honest a book about addiction as they come, and I love it. Barry Longyear is a superb science fiction writer (see The God Box and Sea of Glass as examples) but here he shines as his own biographer. Humor and pathos were never so expertly combined.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Powerful and painful page-turner July 17 2001
By Stephen Kelner Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is both powerful and painful to read--but I couldn't stop. This is for anyone who wants insight into the human condition--especially the condition known as addiction. Barry Longyear is perhaps the most under-appreciated writer in SF, maybe because all his works are about people. In this one, there is no science fiction, just people. You don't have to be an addict, in recovery, or any of those things to appreciate this (I'm not) --just being human is sufficient.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One Hell of a Good Read April 27 2007
By Clayton Stapleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What do you get when an atheistic science fiction writer checks himself into a Catholic rehab center? You get St. Mary Blue, one hell of a read. Good drama requires conflict, and Jake, the cynical atheist, adjusting to the St. Mary Rehab Center offers plenty of conflict.

Relying on his wry sardonic wit, he copes with institutional food at the "Constipated Eagle" and fellow patients like Snake, the biker, and Elliot, the sanctimonious Episcopal priest. Along the way the Angela, Jake's head councilor, is transformed from his chief inquisitor to his first real hero.

Tension builds as Jake prepares for family week when his strong yet vulnerable wife, Ann, will confront him with the thoughtless and dangerous behavior that led him to St. Mary's.

Will Jake be among the center's successful graduates or will he succumb to his addictions? I don't want to give the ending away, but the book is somewhat autobiographical and judging from Barry B. Longyear's web site, he and his lovely wife Jean are living happily ever after in Maine. I like happy endings and I like St. Mary Blue.


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