A Patchwork Planet, by Anne Tyler

Cover ImageFinished 2-19-08, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 1998

“Oh, what makes some people more virtuous than others?  Is it something they know from birth?  Don’t they ever feel that zingy, thrilling urge to smash the world to bits?”      Chapter 1

Who knew that one day I’d have a crush on a man named Barnaby?  Barnaby is the black sheep of a well-to-do family and his mother never lets him forget it.  His family has the charming belief that for generations each member has been contacted by a personal angel.  This angel is to help them find their way in the world.  Barnaby is a 30 year old divorced father and he is still waiting for his angel.

Barnaby has a dead end, but fulfilling job at Rent-A-Back where he spends most of his days doing the bidding of senior citizens who in turn love him and drive him crazy.  He is renting the basement of a house and his car is always in the shop.  One Saturday morning when the car was in said shop, he hops on the train from Baltimore to Philadelphia for his monthly visit with his daughter.  He becomes intrigued by an exchange he witnesses and convinces himself that he has found his angel.

Barnaby is a complicated man who doesn’t fully realize his own worth.  That is the powerful and moving journey of this book.  I loved it.