Keeping Faith Alive Isn’t Always Easy…
For this Sunday’s Salon post, I am going to share the book that I just finished (it’s actually 11:30pm on Saturday night… but what’s a couple of hours?). I’ve been reading this book since Wednesday of this week, again on my comfy patio in the evenings while the kids are asleep. Thank goodness that school’s back in and they are going to bed by 9:30pm. In any event, let me share about my read this week.
This is a beautiful story… let’s just start with that. Jodi Picoult writes a #1 New York Times Bestseller, Keeping Faith, about a young girl, Faith, who comes to be in direct communication with God after her parents sudden divorce. I am guessing from the fact that I picked it up in paperback, and it’s been a best-seller, that many of you have read this book by now. But, my daughter picked it out for me in Costco. At $4.99, I had to say “yes.”
Ultimately, this is a story about a custody battle over Faith between Mariah and Colin. Mariah, Faith’s Mom, is a woman who is commences the story as an emotionally fragile woman. We watch Mariah’s strength, determination and fierce protection of her daughter grow through this novel all the way until the end. You can’t help to root for her and you definitely grow to hate her enemies. Millie, Mariah’s Mother, is my favorite character in this book and is literally resurrected by Faith after being pronounced dead for an hour. She’s just that kind of mother that we all wish we had and all would love. My least favorite character of the novel? Well, it’s definitely a tie between Colin, Faith’s Father (a cheater-cheater, pumpkin eater… in their own home, nonetheless), and Mr. Metz, his ridiculous attorney. I despise them both…. which is a good thing. Because if I can feel emotion while reading a book, it’s got me involved. And, Keeping Faith kept me there.
The main thread throughout the story is that Faith not only sees and communicates with God, but she is also a healer. When she is in the presence of, or touches, another person who is ill, they are healed to some degree. This, of course, gains national media attention, Rabbis, Catholic Priests, groupies, and those in need of healing. They hover and live outside Mariah & Faith’s house and Colin discovers his daughter’s plight via a television broadcast. Of course, by then he’s married the tramp who he cheated on his wife with and is now carrying his child (wedding in Vegas). Being the “man” that he is, he thinks he can take better care of Faith and protect her more than her mother. This ensues the custody battle, Mariah & Faith’s flight to Kansas City, and subsequent medical and legal issues.
For my taste, there were some parts of the novel that I feel could have moved in a bit of a faster pace. These would be the times in Kansas City and when Faith is re-hospitalized for another stigmata. In addition, I felt quite a bit of the story line was predictable (Colin’s cheating at the house and Mariah falling for Ian). I really enjoyed watching Mariah and Ian fall for each other. I also was glad to see the turn-around in Kenzie (the legal guardian at lit-em during the battle). Joan, the attorney, was a like-able character, as well. Overall, I found this to be an excellent book.
Observation: Poor Mariah, every time that woman takes a shower, something happens to Faith. It’s a wonder that she ever bathes again!
Favorite Quote of the Book is by Ian when speaking to the press after the much publicized trial is over:
“For years I’ve made a name for myself condemning God, and the people who believe in God. Trying to win people over to my side. I know y’all are waiting to hear what I have to say about Faith White, and you’re going to be disappointed. I told the truth to Mr. Metz on the witness stand-nothing happened in Kansas City. I’m not going to say whether that girl’s got God in her back pocket. I’m going to say that it isn’t my business, and it isn’t your business.
Quite a kick, isn’t it? That after building a whole bankable empire on atheism, I’d tell you religious beliefs area private affair? And I can see it right now, you shakin’ your heads, saying that reports can damn well make anything their business – but, it’s not so. There’s a difference between a fact and an opinion; any newsman knows that. And religion, for all that it’s provocative, isn’t about only what people believe in-it’s also about the simple act of believing. Just like I have a right to walk out here and say God is a farce, Faith White has a right to should out her bedroom window that God is alive and well. My opinion, versus her opinion. But nowhere in that tangle is there a pure, hard fact.
So who’s right? The answer is… I don’t know. And I shouldn’t care. My mama used to tell me you can’t change the way someone thinks about God or their politics, although I’ve certainly given both a run for my money. But, you know, I might wind up living next door to the pope one day. Or down the road from Faith. Or in the hotel room beside the Dalai Lama’s. And going from door to door trying to convince them I’m the one who’s right is going to be a waste of time. No, correction: It hasbeen a waste of time. We don’t have to accept each other’s beliefs… but we do have to accept each other’s right to believe them.”
So, on the A Novel Menagerie’s “Out of Ten Scale,” I’d give this one an 8.75… nearly a 9.
Buy this book at Amazon.Com.