Thursday, 6 January 2011
Home Girl's 100+ Reading Challenge Book Review - Keeping Faith, Jodi Picoult
I'm such a joiner! There seems to be so many reading challenges getting around, so I was caught at a weak moment when visiting a friend's blog - thanks Theresa @ Substitute Teacher's Saga - and signed up and began writing my first review instantly as anyone who knows me knows I read like a demon. Here it is, only 99 to go! Ha! Ha! Of course I won't be posting them all on my blog. I will be writing up the books I read in the sidebar under the 'Sign Up' image. If you want to join up, click on the image in my right-hand sidebar and get reading and tell us about it..
As the great Stephen King says: 'If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write.'
Keeping Faith, by Jodi Picoult
I’d always thought I’d read this book but it turns out I hadn’t, so it was one of my first reads for 2011. I’m a huge fan of Jodi Picoult's contemporary fiction and this book didn’t disappoint. She can be hard work, as she is a fan of multiple plots and viewpoints, but she moves the story on smoothly. Keeping Faith is a great read.
The book is enlightening and often inspiring, as Picoult deals with contemporary issues in a gloves-off manner. It is a difficult story to get your emotions and thoughts around at times as she has written on a topic that may challenge your preconceptions regarding religion, but the end result is worth it.
Picoult loves taking on provocative and inflammatory topics which is one of the reasons I'm such a fan. In Keeping Faith, she tackles a series of contemporary and often painful issues - infidelity, divorce, custody battles and single parenthood. She deals with all of these issues through sensitive and moving writing. Then, in true Picoult style, she veers in a different direction, shaking the reader out of complacency and into a maelstrom of faith, inspiration, and even the bizarre world of religious stigmata. This triggers a great deal of debate, even among the faithful. How does the everyday person understand, appreciate, or even adapt to the weird and the uncanny?
The MC, Mariah White is still reeling from her divorce and rendered practically catatonic by the crumbling of what she believed was her perfect life. Having seven-year-old Faith, her much-loved daughter, suck her into the spiritually mysterious is unbearably difficult for the embittered single mother.
There is the clever play on words - “Faith” does double duty both as a child’s name and an issue that the beleaguered Mariah has to deal with - this is just one of the areas where Picoult challenges the reader repeatedly. So many of the issues and concerns expressed by her characters focus on, and indeed reflect, the images of “real” people and their experiences. When the seven-year-old begins to talk to an imaginary friend that she calls “Guard,” and there are even faint intimations that this “friend” is Faith’s personal depiction of how she sees God, the reader gets sucked into the story regardless of what their personal views are.
Picoult can be verbose and overly detailed, and sometimes her characters could be further developed, but even so, she makes it easy to root for the underdog. It is also easy to dislike some characters – in this case, the cheating husband and his slimy lawyer make you fume and give you somewhere to focus your angst-ridden horror over the situations that Rye and Faith suffer at the hands of these two bullies.
The ending may leave you a little disgruntled. If you are looking for a casual, light-hearted read, this probably isn’t the book for you. However, if you don’t mind having your eyes opened, your senses pummelled, and your imagination fired up by the possibilities of the miraculous, then this book should give you much reading pleasure.
Denise Covey 2011