For a first novel, this is an amazing work. Stacked up against literature in general, it would probably only rank two gristles but since it's a first novel, it gets three. You can read a quick synopsis of the story from the jacket so I won't go into that here. I had originally read this book when it was first released, back when I was on a John Fischer kick and I must admit that it moved me to tears today as much as it did back then. Due to the length of time since I last read it, I had forgotten most of the details so was pleasantly surprised again and again. However, since that first reading I have read John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany which predated this novel but a couple of years and I couldn't help but notice a large number of simularities. Perhaps this was an unconscious inspiration for Saint Ben or perhaps Fischer was attempting to make a similar book with a more focused Christian message. Regardless, a fine book well worth the read. Unfortunately, Amazon.com has this book listed as a youth book 9-12 but it is actually for nine through adult.