Book: Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
Details: Stand-alone adult contemporary
Publishing Information: First released April 21, 1999 by HarperCollins Publishers
First Sentence: Under normal circumstances, Faith and I should not be home when my mother calls and invites us to come see her brand-new coffin.
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One of America’s most powerful and 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.
“THE TRUTH DOESN’T ALWAYS SET YOU FREE; PEOPLE PREFER TO BELIEVE PRETTIER, NEATLEY WRAPPED LIES.”
Cover Review: I really like this cover! Like all Jodi Picoult books, there are about a million different editions but this is the one I have and I think it’s super cute. I also love the title of this book – never in a million years could I think of a title that better represents the story within these pages.
One reason that a lot of people don’t enjoy Jodi Picoult books is because they all seem to follow the same basic ideas and plot twists. You have a broken family, you have a moral issue, you have a lawsuit, a solution, and then a random death. As much as I love her books, I have to agree that is true for most of her books.
However, this book felt really unique from the other novels I’ve read from Picoult. While there is the huge debate of which parent should get custody over Faith, the book wasn’t about picking sides as much as it was just exploring a bunch of different perspectives on a crazy situation.
This book was pretty fascinating. You had a little girl who was dealing with all of this crazy religion-related stuff when she’s not even religious herself! This draws the attention of Ian Fletcher, who is famous simply because he was such an opinionated atheist that he got his own TV show disproving religious miracles. You also had priests and rabbis who took interest in Faith and tried to explain what was happening to her based on their religion. This book presented so many unique perspectives on such a mind-blowing situation in the first place.
Speaking of perspectives, the POV of this book wasn’t what I was used to in Jodi Picoult’s books. Normally you have rotating points of view per chapter with a variety of different characters talking in the first person. However, in this book the only first person perspective was that of Faith’s mother, Mariah. The other perspectives would be sprinkled throughout the chapters, flipping from scene to scene, and told in third person narrative. I personally didn’t mind this way of telling the story, but it certainly was different from what I expected.
The only issue with having so many characters is that often they’re hard to keep track of. While most of the characters had distinct personalities and were easy to tell apart, others were forgettable and I probably couldn’t tell you their role even now, less than a day after I finished the book.
Another thing that kept me from completely loving this book with all of my heart was that I couldn’t stop reminding myself that it was fiction. All of the stuff that happens in this book maybe could happen in real life, but the fact that it wasn’t a true story certainly makes all of the miracles that happen less… miraculous, because the crazy coincidences and happenings were planned out that way to make the novel more interesting. However, the story always kept me guessing and wanting to know what was going to happen next. I found that this story didn’t really follow the typical Picoult ups and downs, so as I reached the ending I had no idea how things would work out.
Speaking of the ending, I thought it was incredibly well done. It was pretty open-ended, and didn’t answer every question in my mind, but it wasn’t open-ended in a frustrating way. On the contrary, it kept me thinking about what I thought actually happened in all of the book.
Keeping Faith did take me longer to read than I thought it would. Of course, it is a 400+ page book with surprisingly small font, but I can typically fly through a Picoult book in five days or less. Based on my experience, this book is pretty slow-paced, but there’s never nothing happening. There was never a point where I didn’t care what was going to happen next, which is important in a story.
All in all, this was an enjoyable book. I’d say it was my least favorite of the Picoult books I’ve read so far just because it wasn’t as fast-paced, but really it’s my least favorite of a bunch of all amazing books. If you have read any of Jodi Picoult’s other books and are interested in reading more, I’d say this one is worth the read! It brings up some really interesting questions. If the synopsis sounds interesting, too, then you might enjoy it as well – it certainly delivered everything that was promised.
Thanks for reading! 🙂