Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
For the second time in her marriage, Mariah White catches her husband with another woman, and Faith, their seven-year-old daughter, witnesses every painful minute. In the aftermath of a sudden divorce, Mariah struggles with depression and Faith seeks solace in a new friend — a friend who may or may not be imaginary. Faith talks to her “Guard” constantly and begins to recite passages from the Bible — a book she’s never read. Fearful for her daughter’s sanity, Mariah sends her to several psychiatrists. Yet when Faith develops stigmata and begins to perform miraculous healings, Mariah wonders if her daughter — a girl with no religious background — might indeed be seeing God. As word spreads and controversy heightens, Mariah and Faith are besieged by believers and disbelievers alike; they are caught in a media circus that threatens what little stability they have left. What are you willing to believe? Is Faith a prophet or a troubled little girl? Is Mariah a good mother facing an impossible crisis…or a charlatan using her daughter to reclaim the attention her unfaithful husband withheld? As the story builds to a climactic battle for custody, Mariah must discover that spirit is not necessarily something that comes from religion but from inside oneself. Fascinating, thoughtful, and suspenseful, Keeping Faith explores a family plagued by the media, the medical profession, and organized religion in a world where everyone has an opinion but no one knows the truth. At her controversial and compelling best, Jodi Picoult masterfully explores the moment when boundaries break down, when illusions become reality, and when the only step left to take is a leap of faith.
Passionate, convincing, logical and rational– these are all words to describe a person who is trying to sway you to drink the kool-aid you’re not buying. When I truly believe in something or someone, I tell everyone in my network, and with gusto. Now, those that know me would agree , even probably citing a few examples of products, places, things, ideas that I’ve been so passionate about, I’ve gotten them to drink that kool-aid as well, and they were thankful for it. Likewise, I have a minimal BS tolerance policy and consider myself a pretty good judge of character.
Imagine for a moment that someone you trust and love completely, told you they were communicating directly with God, just as you’d sit and talk over coffee with a friend or a co-worker, free flowing and back and forth. What would you say?
What then, if they started mysteriously healing people of HIV, resurrecting people, at the drain of their own health? Or suddenly experiencing stigmata for the first time in history since St. Francis of Assisi to the sheer and utter confusion of any/all medical professionals and modern scientific journals accessible? Oh wait, also try to imagine that said individual is seven years old and their parents are in the thick of a heated divorce and no one will listen to them…herein lies the plot for Jodi Picoult’s (pronounced Pee-KOE) Keeping Faith.
She paints yet another amazing work of art craftfully and gently, with the assistance from rabbinicals, Catholic priests and theologians of many spiritual walks so we may look inside ourselves and for once consider the following; “what if what you believed wasn’t as important as that you believed? What if we were all able to entertain someone else’s point of view about God?” Personally? I think the world would be a better place. We’d have a lot less war and killing and genocide. We could coexist, as Ghandi intended, freely practicing our beliefs, while compartmentalizing so as to not throw off the delicate balance of peace. Sounds simple right? Ha, think again.
Picoult’s thorough novel begs the question, in a thought-provoking yet socially responsible way– “Why can’t we be spiritual without being religious?” And why is keeping our own faith so damn difficult? This is now my 3rd Picoult novel and I’d recommend you try Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult, giving yourself a few weeks to read something else to cleanse your “reader’s palate”.
On deck: UnSweetined and The Alchemist (iPod Audiobook)
5 down, 47 to go…