by Elizabeth Fixmer Book : Elementary and junior high school : Fiction
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Saint Training is Fun, Funny, Warm and Touching   (2012-07-11)
Saint Training takes place in a tumultuous spring and summer in the life of a wonderful little girl with an innocent soul and strong spirit. In Saint Training, Mary Clare O'Brian takes the reader's hand on a walk through her Catholic School world in 1967. Some readers will see their own past; others will be find themselves "back in the day" for the first time when the world seemed to change over night and Mom and Dad, Grandpa and Grandma faced a brave new world of self examination. The story appeals to readers of all ages, but author Elizabeth Fixmer wrote it simply so that it is accessible to everyone from middle grade readers on up. Fixmer spent decades as a Psychotherapist using literature to help kids understand themselves and communicate better with others. All her skills are present here. Although Mary Clare's world collides with the Vietnam War, early feminism, and civil rights, her central struggle is coming to understand that we all must make decisions for ourselves especially when good people/authorities around us take different sides of an argument. What better time than the 1960s to illustrate such a truth. While Mary Clare is Catholic, the author does not promote nor criticize any religion. And perhaps the most important point that can be made in this review: while the book touches on tough issues of the time, it is more than anything else thoroughly enjoyable and touching. This reviewer believes that grandmothers, mothers and daughters will all enjoy reading this work and then talking about it over the dinner table or in book clubs. When you hang with Mary Clare, sometimes the trip is fun, sometimes a little bittersweet, but always enjoyable and honest. I'd like to see more from Mary Clare in future.
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