Keeping Faith

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Keeping Faith

Mariah White works at home making dollhouses and miniatures. She’s married to Colin and has a 7-year-old daughter, Faith. Her life is structured so she does certain things or certain days. This structure makes her feel as though she has control of her life. While she was pregnant with Faith, Mariah had a break down and became suicidal after finding her husband in an affair. His solution was to have her institutionalized at a mental hospital. Once realized, Colin treats Mariah as a fragile person and not as his partner. However, Mariah thinks their marriage has evolved to being just about perfect until she comes home unexpected.
Colin, while he truly cares about Mariah, doesn’t love her. He’s turned to Jessica. Knowing that Mariah always takes Faith to ballet, he invites Jessica home only to have Mariah and Faith show up when Faith forgets her leotard. Finding her husband and his new girlfriend naked in the master suite starts a series of actions that will have long lasting ramifications.
Colin moves in with Jessica and starts a fast divorce from Mariah. Within weeks the divorce is final and Colin is marrying now pregnant Jessica. As part of the divorce, Mariah gets full custody of Faith as well as the house. 
The person most affected by all of this though is Faith. Faith stopped talking for a few days and when she starts again she has a new friend no one else can see. She calls this friend her guardian. Faith also starts quoting the Bible giving Mariah a start, as they are not a religious family. To try to figure out what is going on, Mariah takes Faith to see the local rabbi and a child psychiatrist. Things continue to get more confusing when Faith starts doing what is normally called miracles and the press goes wild.
Ian Fletcher makes a living proving that religious stuff is just a hoax. He has a weekly TV show and a production company. When the rating of his show go down, he starts a road trip to visit so called sightings of the Virgin Mary and other such things. When Faith’s vision comes to his attention, Ian joins the rest of the press camping outside Mariah’s property. The problem is Ian is attracted to Mariah and can’t find any proof to disprove Faith. The longer Ian is there, the more he starts to believe in Faith. This doesn’t look good to his producer or his following.
Colin is livid as he sees the circus his former home has become. He blames Mariah and decides that he will request custody of Faith to remove her from this mess her mother has started. What he doesn’t expect is Mariah to fight back and a nasty custody battle is started with each side positive they are doing what is best for Faith. What should be a private affair becomes a nation wide media blitz with both sides pulling in experts to show which is the best place for Faith. One even states that Mariah is trying to kill Faith. With all this pressure, can it end with a happy solution?
This book has many complex issues and characters, which are drawn out beautifully. Each character is so defined that you can visualize them or someone like them. How often have you seen a TV evangelist? Ian matches their description to a t yet his human side comes out so you can actually like him. As Faith’s religious visions come to the attention of the Catholic Church, their doctrine is explained in a way that non-Catholics can understand. Each situation and character was written with sensitivity and care causing the reader to make an emotional tie with them.
Divorce is seldom pretty. It is the break up of a relationship and a family unit. Usually only one side is given but in Keeping Faith, both sides are presented in such a way that there is no good guy or bad guy just bad judgment. You want to hate Colin. So does Mariah but you end up almost feeling sorry for him. He obviously loves Faith and still cares about Mariah but he also has a new wife and a new child to prepare for. As he tries to make the right choices, he doesn’t always know what they are. Mariah is shocked by everything going on and is fighting to keep focused and out of depression. The pressure is on and she knows what happens when she doesn’t take control but will this work against her in court?
While Faith is the pivotal character, the other characters have just as important role. Mariah’s mother has to give her opinion to everyone. Ian and Mariah are developing a relationship but with them on opposite side of the issues it makes it difficult. Colin has a new marriage he’s not sure he was ready for and a new baby he wasn’t expecting. This keeps the books moving rapidly and keeps the interest high.
With everything that goes on in this book, it was almost impossible to put it down. I wanted to know what would happen next. Could these characters work out their relationships or was it all going to fail? Was Mariah going to be able to keep custody of Faith or was Colin going to wrestle it away from her? And who exactly is this guardian of Faith’s? Some say it’s God but Faith says it’s a woman. Could God be female? And why would God show up to a non-religious Jewish girl?

Book Blurb for Keeping Faith

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.

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2008 4.50