Monday, December 29, 2008

Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

Summary: When the marriage of Mariah White and her cheating husband, Colin, turns ugly and disintegrates, their seven-year-old daughter, Faith, is there to witness it all. In the aftermath of a rapid divorce, Mariah falls into a deep depression - and suddenly Faith, a child with no religious background whatsoever, hears divine voices, starts reciting biblical passages, and develops stigmata. And when the miraculous healings begin, mother and daughter are thrust into the volatile center of controversy and into the heat of a custody battle - trapped in a mad media circus that threatens what little stability the family has left.

My Review: Mariah White is head-over-heels in love with her husband (to a sickening point) and then she catches him cheating and completely falls apart. While she is in her self-loathing stage, her daughter, Faith, who also witnessed the affair, starts talking to her "guard". It seems quite normal that a little girl would develop an imaginary friend after such a traumatic event but when Faith, who has never been told of God, starts reciting Bible verses, Mariah seeks help. It turns out her "guard" is actually her God. Once this is declared all kinds of crazy events take place, including healings and stigmata.
Faith's extraordinary story is leaked to the media and all types of people attempt to reach Faith to figure out what is actually going on with the little girl. Among these people is Ian Fletcher, who makes a living as an atheist disproving Christianity on live television. Also introduced into the story is Father MacReady to clear this mystery up for the Catholic church, even though the girl is not Catholic but technically Jewish. So Rabbi Weissman steps into the story for the Jewish perspective.
While the main story line is intriguing, there are so many side stories taking place that don't tie well with the main story line, that the reader feels distracted. It was difficult to care for Mariah because she was so needy and weak at the beginning of story. And her transformation to a stronger, more independent woman is slow coming and incomplete. Father MacReady and the whole Catholic church side story add little to the book and I feel could have just been cut or mentioned in a less detailed manner. Rabbi Weissman fits well because Mariah is Jewish and his character is very likable, but he pretty much just drops out of the book during the second half. And while I can't say that I liked Ian Fletcher, I do think his character fit nicely with the story and added another dimension.
That being said, Picoult has an excellent writing style that keeps the reader intrigued regardless of the subject. She has a way of making you think about things from a new perspective. I liked how she weaved two sides into "Keeping Faith"...keeping faith from a religious stand point and keeping Faith as in child custody. This novel had so much potential but left the reader wanting for something more.

My Rating: 3 Stars, definitely not her best book but if you enjoy her writing, check it out.

If I could sum this book up in one phrase it would be: A good story, just rough along the edges.


MindySue said...

weird, i posted a comment before...i thought...but it never showed up. hmmmmm. curious.

anyway. the premise of this book sounds very interesting and i really do like the titles play on words that you talked problem...or the thing that is keepign me reading them is that they sound really depressing. is that the case? if you could recommend only two jodi picoults, which would they be?

Heather said...

I wouldn't say they are depressing as much as just emotional with ups and downs. I have only read 4 of her books. I would totally recommend "Nineteen Minutes" as I believe that it gives great insight to anyone with school-age children. I have heard her best book is "My Sister's Keeper", which I haven't read yet but plan to soon. It is said to be very emotional so you must be in the right state of mind to read it (not pregnant or just after a baby!) I also enjoyed "The Tenth Circle", which was very different from her usually book, but can't say I would rate it above this one.
Don't let the depressing factor keep you from reading her books. These books are filled with peaks and valleys, yet contain some very good, thought-provoking material.

MindySue said...

okay okay. i'll try them. ;)


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