One of America's most thought-provoking novelists, New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult brilliantly examines belief, miracles, and the complex core of family.
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. (from back cover)
By now everyone should know that I absolutely adore Jodi Picoult and her novels so I'm sure you will not be surprised when I say that I thought Keeping Faith was an amazing book. I'm sure there will be some Picoult books that I don't like that much, but out of the several I have read, I have loved all of them.
I picked up Keeping Faith even though, like Faith, I do not come from a religious background. Since Picoult is such a seasoned writer, I knew she wouldn't be preachy, but instead would just examine and discuss the story. I liked that there was room for interpretation in Faith's case, even though it heavily leans toward the divine intervention interpretation. Another connection I felt with Faith was that even though she was seven years old in the book, the novel takes place in 1999, so I would have been the same exact age then. Which is pretty awesome, in my opinion.
Keeping Faith has many themes: faith, belief vs. non-belief, broken families, Christianity vs. Judaism (this comes into play because technically Faith is Jewish, but she exhibits Christian visions, like stigmata), depression and mental health, some romance, the love of a mother. Even though there is a lot going on, including flashbacks and different points-of-view, everything is still seamlessly weaved together to create a convincing story. All of the characters are completely fleshed out and have many complexities. Mariah, for example, has a history of suicide and depression, however by the end of the novel she is strong and loving and a great mother to Faith. I loved watching her progession and seeing the changes that people can achieve. Another awesome character was Millie, who was Mariah's mother. She was the grandmother you always want - tough, but funny and also very kind and loving. She reminded me a little of my grandmother, but Millie has much more spunk and sass, which I love.
Overall, I think Keeping Faith accomplished a lot - it was a story about faith and belief, and I think people of all religions or non-religions will enjoy this book. Jodi Picoult picked a tough topic but she did a wonderful job and Keeping Faith turned out to be a very thought-provoking book.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.
1999/Harper Perennial/432 pages