Read The Patron Saint of Ugly by Marie Manilla Online


Born in Sweetwater, West Virginia, with a mop of flaming red hair and a map of the world rendered in port-wine stains on every surface of her body, Garnet Ferrari is used to being an outcast. With her sharp tongue, she has always known how to defend herself against bullies and aggressors, but she finds she is less adept at fending off the pilgrims who have set up a veritabBorn in Sweetwater, West Virginia, with a mop of flaming red hair and a map of the world rendered in port-wine stains on every surface of her body, Garnet Ferrari is used to being an outcast. With her sharp tongue, she has always known how to defend herself against bullies and aggressors, but she finds she is less adept at fending off the pilgrims who have set up a veritable tent city outside her hilltop home, convinced that she is Saint Garnet, healer of skin ailments and maker of miracles.Her grandmother, the indelible Nonna Diamante, believes that Garnet’s mystical gift can be traced back to the family’s origins in the Nebrodi Mountains of Sicily, and now the Vatican has sent an emissary to Sweetwater to investigate. Garnet, wanting nothing more than to debunk this “gift” and send these desperate souls packing, reaches back into her family’s tangled past and unspools for the Church a tale of love triangles on the shores of the Messina Strait; a sad, beautiful maiden’s gilded-cage childhood in blueblood Virginia; and the angelic, doomed boy Garnet could not protect.Saint or not, Garnet learns that the line between reality and myth is always blurred, and that the aspects of ourselves we are most ashamed of can prove to be the source of our greatest strength, and even our salvation....

Title : The Patron Saint of Ugly
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780544146242
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Patron Saint of Ugly Reviews

  • Pouting Always
    2019-05-15 12:16

    The story is about Garnet who has a port wine stain and has spent her life being the ugly child. Also her grandma starts this story about her being a saint and curing people when she's younger which continues into her adulthood and we get to read her interview with someone from Rome who came to investigate into it. I can agree that at some points the story gets a little sloppy or the writing starts to get some what immature but I still really enjoyed it. A lot of the things that happen towards the end were some what silly yet for me it worked especially with the tone set from the beginning by the writing. It's a feel good read, something to read for pleasure not really high brow literature but I don't see why everything needs to be.

  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    2019-05-18 08:03

    This book was so good, it was full of quirky characters. It reminded me of Daniel Wallace's stories. This is storytelling at it's finest. I am not officially reviewing it, but I have an arc. I know it's terrible to say 'this should be a movie' but I could really see this one coming to life on the big screen. A reluctant young 'ugly' saint, stained with a map of sorts on her skin has a gift to heal but this child isn't pious. Her Italian family has a troubled history, and while there is a lot of humor there is heartbreak that hits you unexpectedly. Nona is the heart driving our saint and our story along. Each character, particularly the women, remain with the reader when the story comes to an end. I cannot wait to read more by Manilla. There is a lot going on, I could imagine if the writer really wanted to she could write a story based on any of the characters in this novel and have just as colorful a story. Love this.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2019-05-04 09:17

    I read this book on a long travel day, having picked it on impulse from the leisure reading collection based on the striking cover. I was going for light reads and this was perfect. (Thanks Robyn!)Garnet has been accidentally curing illness in her town since she was a young girl, despite (or maybe because of a series of marks on her skin resembling countries.) The book is written in the form of recordings she makes as a young adult, to send to the people in the Catholic church investigating whether she has done signs and wonders (and should be considered for sainthood.) I liked this approach for the story because you get to know her personality well, alongside some of the older people in her life who sneak in to record for the priest. It was also fun to have a bunch of Sicilians running around in West Virginia; it added a lot of character to the "village."

  • Jeanette
    2019-05-22 06:52

    Getting more than 1/2 way was like pulling teeth for me. So I refrained. It's just too slick and cute and folksy to be conceivable. And the cut of Magic Realism sliced within was the type I find the most incompatible with reason. Stereotypes reign upon all the rest.I apologize to all those who rate this book so high. To me, not even the flow of language was decent enough to continue. Maybe I have the malocchio eye upon me.

  • Christine Varga
    2019-05-03 11:09

    I received an advance reader copy of this book and had absolutely no idea what to expect, but I was thoroughly impressed. I accidentally put off reading this for a few days at first. I had many other books I'd been wanting to read and wasn’t sure what to expect, but man, once I got into this, I got INTO this. This book is full of crazy events and crazier characters. There is laughter, joy, sadness and the constant presence of a subtle magic. Though the story surrounds a fictional saint and includes many inconceivable events, I can honestly say its many messages speak the truth. I find Garnet's life completely un-relatable and yet she, herself, is perfectly relatable and her first-person audio transcript (meant to convince us all that she isn't a saint) is absolutely hilarious. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone sick of reading the same old plots over and over, because this is absolutely NOT a typical tale of a woman with two men vying for her attention, or a centuries-old battle between good and evil. This is fresh and unique and I absolutely loved it.

  • Becky
    2019-05-04 08:48

    Read this based on all the 5 star reviews. Really wanted to like this book but just never got into it no matter how hard I tried. ALL of the characters had a serious underlying problem that they were never able to overcome - I found it depressing. If you want quirky, I'd recommend A Man Called Ove or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

  • Vivian
    2019-05-15 09:01

    Garnet Ferrari is the object of either extreme prejudice or adoration in her hometown of Sweetwater, West Virginia. To most of the children in town and some of the parents, she is feared and hated because she is different. To the nonnas (Italian grandmothers) and a few others, she is adored for her mystical healing powers. Although Garnet's childhood isn't ideal it is filled with family and love, but all of that quickly changes with one traumatic incident quickly followed by a horrific accident that devastates the entire Ferrari family.The Patron Saint of Ugly is a fast-paced read about love, survival, and hope. All Garnet, indeed any of the women married into the Ferrari family, want is to be loved. Garnet spends the beginning of her childhood being tortured by the ugly taunts of others. She spends her adolescence and early adulthood striving to be overlooked. It isn't until she returns to Sweetwater as an adult that she seems to overcome the struggle of being perceived as "normal." The Patron Saint of Ugly evoked a lot of responses from me while I was reading: sadness, empathy, sympathy, and laughter. Garnet's nonna was the source of much of that laughter with her machinations during Garnet's childhood and adulthood. Much of the story takes place in either Italy in the early 1920s, West Virginia in the 1950s, early 1960s, and mid 1970s. Ms. Manilla's characters are either extremely lovable or despised. I don't think any reader will like Garnet's grandfather, maternal grandmother, or La Strega (no, I'm not going to tell you who La Strega is . . . read the book). Garnet's story is gradually revealed in a series of taped reminiscences for the Vatican, as she attempts to debunk her so-called healing gifts. It is in these narrations that we learn the back-stories for her nonna and mother, as well as learning about Garnet’s inner longings and desires. If you enjoy reading well-crafted fiction that combines humor, a quest for survival, a longing for normality, mythic origins, and a touch of magic, then The Patron Saint of Ugly is one story you have to read.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-14 13:02

    I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway.I really enjoyed this book, from the first page to the last it made me want to know everything about Garnet Ferrari and how it had come to be that she was being investigated as a saint of the Catholic church. Garnet seems an unlikely candidate for canonization, and her family certainly does not hold all of the beliefs of the Catholic church, even, arguably, Nonna, who believes with an interesting mix of Christianity and Paganism.Garnet's life is interesting, full of difficulty and heartache. Her extended family can be cruel, both emotionally and physically, and Garnet longs for her father to say that he loves her. But at the same time she is loved and revered by her mother and grandmother. And her relationship with her brother is that mix of love and annoyance that happens between most siblings. But throughout, Garnet faces life with bravery, and more than a little sarcasm. Similar to how Nonna faces it with faith and Madeiras.Garnet's life is fascinating, mostly thanks to the port wine stains which map out the world on her body. We get her story in retrospect, while she lives high on the hill in Sweetwater, West Virginia, hiding from the pilgrims outside of her home convinced she is a saint. While she tells the Catholic Church of her life, Garnet reveals her high and low moments, and tries to keep herself away from the world outside who think she is someone she does not believe herself to be. All the while, Nonna and Garnet's aunt, do little things that keep the outside world at their doorstep, always trying to come in to have their skin conditions healed.I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and honestly, did not know how to write this review to properly express how readable but complex this story is. It is a fun book, but a sad book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It is one that I will be reluctant to lend out (but I will, books are for sharing) because I will want to read it again.

  • Kristin
    2019-05-10 14:08

    This has easily become one of my favorite books. It is a beautiful book filled with memorable characters and places. Marie Manilla has captured a essence that is often difficult to put down in words. It is one part rural literature, one part Southern Gothic, one part Magical Realism.The character of Garnet Ferrari maybe physically, and may I dare say emotionally scarred, but the way she tells her story gives the reader a sense that this young woman is very strong. Garnet's story, along with those of her family, and neighborhood, weave together and unravel as she tells it to a tape recorder. Injections from her Nona and Aunt Betty keep it real. Without revealing too much, I can say the reader will not be disappointed with this engrossing read. I'd like to thank Net Galley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with an advance copy of this wonderful book.

  • Dee
    2019-05-02 10:50

    This book turned out to be so much more than it first seemed. The story and characters evolved with every page, and there were surprises around every corner. Each turn of events made the story that much better, and truly a page-turner. I literally could not put it down! It took a little while to get into the rhythm of the book because of the first-person narrative and sometimes choppy transitions. I would encourage everyone to stick with it through the first couple chapters, once it gets going, it really gets going! Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for the free copy!

  • Julie
    2019-05-21 08:03

    This book is highly rated, but I just couldn't get into it. No draw for me, no hook, no relatable characters. I might try to read it again in the future, but right now, it's not for me.

  • Holly
    2019-05-07 14:00

    People rated this 4-1/2 stars. Maybe they can't count. Good potential -- some intriguing plot lines and characters, but kind of convoluted and a hot mess. My recommendation: Pass.

  • Melissa
    2019-05-23 07:15

    Holy hell, no. Just no.

  • jv poore
    2019-05-01 13:00

    After chomping at the bit for months, finally, at long last, I get to tell you: I have read 2014’s Best Novel and it is The Patron Saint of Ugly. Created, crafted and chronicled by the magnificent Marie Manilla, this written work of art will capture your mind, tug your heart-strings and enrich your very essence. This is Garnet’s story, and what a tale it is. The intricacy of layers within, akin to hand-made lace: have been painstakingly woven to be lovely, seemingly delicate; but actually quite strong.Growing up in Sweetwater, WV, Garnet has simple desires and dreams; to be like everyone else. Things that come so easily to others: quick conversations, best friends, flirting; all seem elusive to the girl covered in port-wine stains; looking as if a globe exploded, scattering land masses and constellations randomly over her entire body. But, this isn’t a simple story of an ugly duckling and inner beauty. Rather, it is a narrative of a family comprised of Old World Sicilians, blue-bloods able and willing to trace lineage all the way back to the Mayflower, small-town socialites, bad people, despicable people, heart-ache, hope and unconditional love.As she begins, and throughout her memoir, Garnet’s tone is generally light; however, an undeniable sense of foreboding lurks. There is little to no doubt that Garnet’s words are most honest and sincere; just as surely as the reader realizes: Garnet is not telling us everything. As she relaxes in her role of story-teller, the whole, sordid truth begins to seep out; foreshadowing was very subtle, yet tangible. I actually got butterflies in my stomach when Garnet explained why she no longer ate penny candy. I didn't want to keep reading, but I couldn't stop. Sometimes, I really, truly, did not want to turn the page…..but I had to. A feeling of dread would swell up inside of me; I anticipated something bad, but the truth was never, ever, what I expected.Continuing to provide the unexpected, Ms. Manilla’s wisdom shines as she allows Garnet to share her story orally, via recorded cassettes: pure genius. Living as an outcast, in the shadows, Garnet is privy to many secrets. Coupled with her uncanny observing skills, she simply must serve as narrator. Of course, the ladies closest to Garnet have well-guarded, deep secrets, too. Bits and pieces divulged in stolen moments, whispering into the recorder are poignant, heart-felt and sometimes…down-right shocking. I love absolutely everything about this unique, sad, hopeful, strong, sweet story. Ms. Manilla’s craft is unparalleled; evoking tears, laughter and hope.

  • Gaele
    2019-05-12 06:08

    AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 4 Story: 4A bit of a mixed review on this one I’m afraid: there were just too many characters that devolved into stereotypes for me to find them all believable or sympathetic, although personalities and actions become stereotypical for a reason – they resonate strongly with those who encounter them. Marie Manilla is telling the story of Garnet Ferrari as she introduces us to her life story, trials and tribulations as the “different one” in her rather unusual family. A child born in West Virginia with flame-red hair and port-wine birthmarks that resemble a map of the world all over her body, Garnet was mercilessly teased and set apart from others in the community, and even within her family. A talent for healing has her grandmother’s praising and revering her as a mythical saint long gone, but to others she is different and just a little outside of their comfort zone. Garnet’s story is really her search to debunk her ‘powers’, as she searches for what she truly wants and believes, she is presenting us with a story and history of the people important to her, and their reactions and interactions that brought her to now. Hopeful and full of hidden desires, Garnet carefully defines and describes the scenes and settings as she experienced them. While many of the behaviors and characters do take on a stereotypical tone – it is only in hindsight that you discover you are wanting more depth and reason for their behavior. Narration in this book is provided by Laura Hicks, and she presented the characters and events with a smooth and clearly enunciated style, managing to avoid over-reaching in tone, tenor or over-arching emotive emphasis, keeping the characters distinct but not jarring in their depiction. Her narration complements the story, and doesn’t lead the reader to conclusions or insights of the characters beyond the author’s intent. An interesting mix of southern charm, mystical realism, literary and historical fiction, this story travels from the1920’s through the 1970’s, and moves from quiet revelations to repairing damage from a tragedy that rocked the family foundations for years. Full of hope, humor and some striking revelations about one’s ability to define a place in the world.

  • Rick
    2019-05-16 05:56

    This was one of the most beautifully drawn tales I’ve had the experience to read. The characters are brought vividly to life, in often poignant, and at times humorous situations. The character of Nonna was one of my favorites, reminding me of the little small grandmother/mother we all tenderly remember. The character of Garnet is one of sadness, but also joy. You just feel for the poor girl, when she is constantly rejected by those whose love she desires most, because they consider her unattractive. She also watches sadly, as this love is often given to others much more freely.A lot of the story style, reminds me of the movie, The Big Fish. You never know whether some of the events described were true, or were “stretches”. Through flashbacks, we get to see the original Garnet, Nonna’s life in Sicily and events that brought her to America, and many other events. The narrative though flows flawlessly, and in the end, one can’t help but love Garnet.I’d rate this on a PG-13 scale due to some language, and events. But for a great reading experience, I don’t think you could go wrong with this novel. If you like rich characters, then this is definitely one for you. I heartily recommend it. It hits shelves on June 15-17, 2014.

  • Linda Mastellone
    2019-05-16 06:06

    I loved this book! Marie Manilla has created a whole world--locations, people, history--that is complete and compelling. For me, the mark of a well-developed character is that I cry when they suffer or die. And laugh when they experience joy. I laughed and cried on every page. Garnet, her grandmother, her parents, her brother all come to life as vivid as Garnet's hair or the map of the world on her body. When I was about 10 pages away from the end, I put the book down for a day or so. I didn't want it to end--so I drew out the experience. I thought about Garnet and her grandmother (and everyone else), really absorbing the story, before I could pick the book up again and finish. This is a wonderful book.

  • Ammy
    2019-05-07 10:52

    Garnet Ferrari was born in 1950 in Sweetwater, WV. She has a mop of flaming red hair and a map of the world rendered in port wine stains on every surface of her body. Pilgrims believe she is Saint Garnet, healer of skin ailments and maker of miracles. The Vatican sends an emissary to investigate.The book goes back and forth in time as Garnet delves into her family’s Italian history. She’s determined to debunk the myth surrounding her “gift”. I loved this book! What great characters and what an interesting concept of the map of the world on Garnet’s body and how the geography changes as the world does. A great plot which is part myth, part reality and part fantasy.

  • Gary Lawrence
    2019-04-23 06:07

    It took a long time for me to get into this book but I am glad I persevered. The vatican have started the process of investigating a living saint, of Sicillian heritage who herself is a non believer. There story is told by the saint and her grandmother telling their story into a tape-recorded and the papal investigator in reports back to Rome. The investigation is eventually abandoned and the miracles are explained away via natural means. The changes in the people involved because of their greater understanding of each other remains. A good look at an older different religious culture and an interesting read.

  • Jeanne
    2019-04-29 11:48

    Over the course of a number of "tapes" responding to the Vatican's questions about her life, this witty, wry narrator examines her life from an unusual vantage. Initially she (and others) are embarrassed by the port wine stains covering her body like a world map. Later, she rejects the sainthood that others want to impose on her, looking for natural causes to explain the miracles occurring around her. Nothing is as it initially seems.Want to be a saint? Saint Garnet's tapes will convince you otherwise.

  • Kimberly Sullivan
    2019-05-16 13:48

    Excellent read.I admit to being a bit 'eh' when this book was chosen for the book club I am joining. Imagine my surprise at how much I enjoyed it. The characters were well developed and carried the storyline quite well. I am by far not a religious person but found the backstory of old school Catholicism masterful. Definitely recommend this one. I was sad for it to be finished.

  • Marlayna Maynard
    2019-04-28 06:06

    Manilla spins a yarn that intrepidly explores difficult spiritual and family matters, while maintaining a lighthearted and quirky tone in a world where miracles happen, but are sometimes exasperating or absurd. She transcends the labels of regionalism in a unique Appalachian/Italian/Catholic/Feminist/Human perspective. This book is very special. When I finished it, I had to go out and buy cannoli to celebrate Nonna.

  • Phyllis
    2019-05-12 06:49

    This novel is interesting and entertaining. Now that I've read it I plan to listen to it on audio just to hear the Italian nonna's voice. The book is enjoyably humorous while dealing with "family troubles" and faith. I especially like the fact it shows the ethnic brew of a West Virginia town, warts and all.

  • Peacegal
    2019-05-11 08:11

    I can't say I either especially liked or disliked this novel. It was far different from all of the other Appalachia novels I've had to read for my book group, which normally all involve coal mining, poverty, and a protagonist struggling to rise above it all. That said, I did feel UGLY was entirely too long, and too full of silly plot twists and cutesy asides.

  • Sonja Livingston
    2019-05-23 12:51

    Great storytelling! I love the backdrop of Sicilian-Americans and saints in West Virginia. Manilla's keen observations on the nature of people and the unique geography and history/culture of the region form the backbone of the work. The lush language and magic braided into the narrative somehow make the fiction even truer. Gorgeous work. Brava!

  • Terri
    2019-05-21 10:11

    I received this book from a goodreads giveaway.I really enjoyed this book. I a-fell in love with Garnet and her Nonna. I loved their story and how things became the way they were. I would definitely recommend you to read it if you're looking for a little magic in your book.

  • Susan
    2019-05-23 08:15

    Wow! Wonderful story, and a great cast of characters! Read the book. Prepare for a wonderful journey with a fam-i-ly you will want to join.

  • Chantel Acevedo
    2019-04-30 10:06

    This was my favorite book of 2014, hands down. I've given it as a gift a few times already. The voice is marvelous, the story delightful and tragic at turns. Wonderful stuff.

  • Coleen
    2019-04-27 11:49

    I loved Garnet, Nonna, Betty - the legends and of course the saints. Great book!

  • Molly Johnson malsam
    2019-05-04 10:12

    Just a fantastically written, emotionally rich and satisfying book in every way.