Denise Day Spencer

August 18, 2009

“Pocket Guide to Sainthood,” by Jason Boyett

Filed under: Book review — denisedayspencer @ 6:46 pm

Before I could begin this essay, I had to pull up my thesaurus and check for alternatives to the word “delightful,” because I could very easily overwork that adjective in a book review of Jason Boyett’s Pocket Guide to Sainthood.

The Pocket Guide to Sainthood is just that. At 219 pages and dimensions of 5″ x 7″ x 5/8″, this little book just might fit into a large pocket. Definitely a purse or backpack. But wait–I’m beginning to sound just a bit like Boyett.

Subtitled “A Field Manual for the Super-Virtuous Life,” the Pocket Guide is a fast-paced, easy-to-read volume chock full of general information, biographical summaries, interesting tidbits and Boyett’s quirky sense of humor on every page.

The Pocket Guide to Sainthood begins with a glossary of terms. From anchorites to mendicants, you’ll expand your saintly vocabulary more than you ever thought possible. To keep things moving, this chapter is liberally populated with “Fun Related Facts” which are all three.

Chapters two and three are “Saints You Should Know.” This section also contains “Obligatory Weird Miracle Stories” for your ongoing education and entertainment. Even the footnotes are peachy. (That’s one of the synonymns my thesaurus listed–honest!)

Next come the patron saints and their causes. Did you know there are patron saints for bowel disorders? Explosives workers? Charcoal burners? (Whatever they are.) Even serial killers. See, I told you this was fun!

Chapter five is “The Canonization Process in 18 Simple Steps,” which begins with a section written in a Q & A format. It then goes on to outline…well…the canonization process in 18 simple steps–beginning with, “1. You must die.” Don’t worry; it goes uphill from there.

The final chapter is titled, “Sts. Flotsam and Jetsam,” and is a ducky (There I go again!) array of all sorts of wild and crazy lists. How wild and crazy? Try “Nine Saints With Nicknames That Sound Like They Could Have Belonged to Professional Wrestlers.” Or perhaps, “Five Saints With Particularly Disturbing Icons and/or Other Artistic Representations.” Not strange enough? Then read “Three Saints Whose Relics Ooze Oil.”

The Pocket Guide to Sainthood is a great read cover-to-cover. Then you’ll no doubt want to keep it as a handy reference tool. Whether you need to know what St. Margaret of Antioch was best known for or which saint should pray for your fourth cousin thrice removed who’s a Florentine cheese worker, it’s all there, my friends. You have only to take the volume out of your pocket.

Pocket Guide to Sainthood is published by Jossey-Bass, an imprint of Wiley. Wiley books are available at your local bookstore or by calling 1-800-225-5945.



  1. Very funny review, Denise! It does sound like a hilarious read.

    Comment by JoanieD — August 19, 2009 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  2. […] My wife Denise is on her way to sainthood and is imminently qualified to review Jason Boyett’s new book. […]

    Pingback by Review: Denise Day Spencer on “The Pocket Guide To Sainthood” by Jason Boyett | — August 19, 2009 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

  3. You are truly a ducky, peachy, and yes, delightful writer.

    Comment by Bill Kinnon — August 19, 2009 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  4. I so need to read that book. I’ve read some quirky stories about saints already, and they are always interesting. Thanks for posting this.

    Comment by Susan — August 19, 2009 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  5. One of the advantages of staying this side of the Tiber is that you do not need to die in order to become a saint 🙂

    Although on the other hand, lacking canonized saints we then elevate folks like Joel Osteen to almost-canonized status …

    I am glad that even as an Evangelical I can look to people like St. John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, or Mother Theresa of Calcutta as great examples of Christian discipleship.

    Comment by Wolf Paul — August 20, 2009 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  6. Great review. Now am going to have keep an eye out for this in the nearest evangelical bookshop (*ponders whether they would even stock this title, or mark it down quicksmart after they have stocked it*)

    Comment by Brandon F — August 20, 2009 @ 2:23 am | Reply

  7. Great review on a very informative and fun book (hard to be both informative and fun these days, but this book does it)

    Comment by Ken Grant — August 20, 2009 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  8. Did it include St. Basil the Blessed for whom the Orthodox Cathedral on Red Square is named? Not the patron of haberdashers.

    Comment by Dino — August 20, 2009 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  9. Thank you for everything. Very useful

    Comment by เพลงmp3 — January 19, 2010 @ 5:37 am | Reply

  10. The best information but i like

    Comment by โหลดเพลงmp3ฟรี — March 7, 2010 @ 12:36 am | Reply

  11. Здравствуйте все!

    Почему я решила поднять эту тему…

    Мой сын занимается теннисом. В его группе есть несколько талантливейших детей из очень бедных семей, которые не то, что соревнования, обычные тренировки оплатить не могут. Сначала родители для них скидывались по-немногу. Но мы деньги тоже не печатаем. Поэтому я решила найти спонсоров для этих деток. Порылась в интернете, но нашла очень немного информации. Больным деткам люди еще могут помочь (и это супер, что у наших людей есть сочуствие и понимание), а вот здоровым талантливым деткам – увы.

    Как вы думаете, нужно ли поддерживать талантливое подрастающее поколение?

    Comment by Opall — November 28, 2013 @ 2:01 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: