Elizabeth Hayt never wanted to conform to the life everyone desired for her. She reluctantly took the plunge into marriage and motherhood, all the while seeking more. Her up-front memoir, I'm No Saint: A Nasty Little Memoir of Love and Leaving is an interesting yet fractured look at a woman living on the edge of trouble.
Hayt talks about her childhood, and even then signs of heading down the slippery slope were there:
sexual activity combined with drug use in response to parents who were both
controlling (in the case of her father) and mentally ill/emotionally
overcompensating (her mother). Hayt never apologizes for her activities and even offers up appropriate explanations for her actions (no male role model, clingy mother). All through the pages of I'm No Saint, we live through her eating disorders, drug and sexual addictions, and
the final move toward recovery.
Unfortunately, the one who suffered most during (and probably after) Haytís experiences was her son. She decided (yes, everything she did was a self-indulgent decision, in my opinion) to basically abandon her son to be raised by a babysitter because he was difficult. This left Hayt free to indulge herself sexually and with drugs. And the extent of her drug use is kept a secret through most of the
memoir, even from the reader.
Although I'm No Saint does ring true, I was ultimately left wondering what the point of the book really was. The ending is very abrupt and doesnít give a sense of a completed story. I think the author wrote the book hoping for a happy ending, but it didnít work out the way she had planned. However, that was the story of much of her life, so I suppose itís a fitting ending. Many troubling issues, as mentioned above, are detailed in the pages of I'm No Saint. This is not a book for
readers looking for a clean-cut redemption story. Itís brutally honest but also brutally transparent and graphic. Thereís not much joy to be found in these pages. The pervasive mood is sadness, and Hayt doesnít really experience any joy, even at the conclusion.