Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

January 26, 2012
Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

Imagine that your seven year old has an imaginary friend. Perfectly normal, right? Now, imagine taking her to a psychiatrist, who says that she is perfectly normal. Normal, except for the fact that she can recite bible passages and perform miracles. And your family has no religious background whatsoever. I, having randomly plucked this book off the shelf, was compelled to read it . In Keeping Faith, Jodi Picoult chronicles the amazing journey of Faith White, her mother Mariah, father Colin, and her unexpected friend Ian Fletcher as they look for answers and must ultimately decide whether or not to believe.

Faith White is probably what you would call a ‘normal’ child. She is seven years old, and likes ballet and Barbies. Her parents are divorced, which was also rather common back then.

After Faith and Mariah catch Colin cheating, Mariah sinks into depression, and Faith feels like she has no one. This is where her imaginary friend, her “guard,” comes in. Alone and unsure, Faith’s “guard” comforts her because her mother cannot.

Mariah begins to heal, and queer things start happening, all surrounding Faith’s ability to perform miracles. As the media, cults, Ian Fletcher, and even the Catholic Church get involved, things start to look a little crazy. No. Things ARE crazy. And to ice the cake, Mariah is being sued by Colin for custody of their daughter.

Some say Faith is a charlatan, others genuinely believe that she can work miracles. I understand their uncertainty, as who could believe, or not, what is happening, when it is so far fetched from this world? However, as the tension builds, I absolutely could not put this book down. I wanted to see what would happen to Faith, her broken family, her friends, and supporters. Jodi Picoult did a preeminent job getting her readers to be a part of the story, whether by letting you relate to Faith, Mariah, Colin, Ian, or just the crowd gathered outside Faith’s door. As her family, friends and supporters continue to question and wonder, they must eventually come to the decision to believe, or not. What I think they learn in the end though, is that, “Faith can heal.” And not just that that a little girl can, but both types of Faith.

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