Fiction Book Club Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult Buy book: $10.61
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 begins to confide in an imaginary friend. At first, Mariah dismisses these exchanges as a child's imagination. But when Faith starts reciting passages from the Bible, develops stigmata, and begins to perform miraculous healings, Mariah wonders if her daughter--a girl with no religious background-might actually be seeing God.
As word spreads and controversy flares, Mariah and Faith are besieged by believers and disbelievers alike, caught in a media circus that threatens what little stability they have left. Building inexorably to a climactic battle for custody, 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. Fascinating, thoughtful, and suspenseful, this extraordinary novel is Jodi Picoult at her best: controversial and compelling.
I really enjoyed this prologue.I felt real while reading it almost like I could relate to Mariah.Being a Mother of a young daughter myself and having a funny Mother :-) I really can't wait to read the other chapters. But I think I want to skip right ahead and buy this book. Although this is not my type of reading under normal circumstances. Well done Jodi Picoult.Thanks so much Crystal
Hi all, I will start this one early as I read "Keeping Faith" a few years ago, and it is still one of the best books I have ever read, and reading it has encouraged me to read everything that Jodi Picoult has written before and after this book. I think what I liked about it is how different it is to the usual novel. Reading the blurb on the back drew me in to begin with as the story sounded intriguing, and the book certainly didn't disappoint. It was full of suspense (I couldn't put it down from the moment I started it), yet the characters were so well developed that you could feel you knew them. The story, along with all Jodi's other books, gets you thinking way beyond the end of the book. Jodi is now my favourite author, and I'm looking forward to her new release this April.
I enjoyed today's installment. I'm looking forward to receiving more tomorrow.
It appears there's a discrepancy between Mariah's view of her marriage, and its reality, as suggested in the book jacket blurb. I like getting the POV from Mariah, and I found the coffin sequence amusing, and different.
I'm not drawn in by the bookjacket's summary (depressing and creepily reminiscent of "The Exorcist"), yet I enjoyed the first installment. Mariah is a woman with too much time on her hands -- a whole day for errands, a whole day for housecleaning, a whole day for misc catch-up?! -- and she hesitates to tackle anything on the wrong day because then she'll be at loose ends the next day?? The author is developing a real tone of emptiness in Mariah's life. I also thought the author did a good, subtle job of introducing the marriage -- Mariah has all sorts of romanticized scenarios going on in her head that bear no relation to the reality of her husband's obvious disinterest. Looking forward to tomorrow.
Great book so far. I usually cannot put a book down once I start reading it, so this will be interesting for me.
I feel sorry for Mariah so far. She seems dysfunctional to me. Her life is too orderly and she seems to be hanging on by a thread. I was saddened that she didn't think a rainbow was special and didn't share even her daughter's excitement about it.
Well, talk to you tomorrow. Happy reading.
Jodi Picoult is a favorite author of mine and I have wanted to read this one ever since it came out but somehow it got lost in the pile. I am already loving it and laughing at the dialogue between senior mother and daughter.So glad this was picked! Will have to get the book; I can already tell :)
Whoa, of course I could see that coming, but still! She overdid it a little with all that talk about how perfect her marriage was, but I'm still enjoying this one. I tried to read another Jody Picoult, "Perfect Match" and couldn't get through it. I think it was too gruesome for me.
This is not my usual type of book, but reading each chapter daily has made me wanting to see the outcome. Although not my style, Jodi Picocelt seems to be an excellant writer. I have noticed that most of the readers making comments seem to have female names. Is this usual, or is it just that kind of book? No matter though, I plan to put Keeping Faith on my read list.
I've been forced to read several other Picoult works in book clubs, even had a short e-mail conversation going with her. I find her work somewhat simplistic, but readable, what we used to describe as a "beach read". I guess this one might qualify as a "snow read." Entertaining, but not a prize winner.
I was put off by this book jacket. I almost didn't read the first chapter, but then thought I'd give it a chance. It really hooked me. Surprise! That is what I love about these book clubs. I find myself reading books I would never chose on my own. I'm now looking forward to the rest of this book! Thanks Suzanne!
Oh my Gosh How horrible. If this was me all Heck would have broke lose. I sure hope this ends well:-)
I'm so into this book. Thanks to Jodi and Suzanne Beecher for shareing this book with me and the others.
Wow. I too am hooked. Today's reading just tugged at my heartstrings. How badly did you want to hug she and Faith after finding daddy with another woman?
Mariah seems to have pushed aside the past failures of her husband and reconstructed her marriage into this wonderful fantasy, full of love, devotion and want. Additionally, she fills each day with some scheduled task, maintaining a feeling of order, of control, to perhaps deny those things that she cannot control.
I look forward to tomorrow’s reading – I’m quite sure this one will be on my wish list.
I'm new to this online book club -- how fun!. I just read the 3rd installment of this book. I'm sorry I missed the first two installments, but I can't wait to see what happens next (although it will probably be depressing). The writing isn't outstanding, but the story is engaging. I will have to finish this one!
I like this book. but I hate it when the protagonist gives up. I guess I like fighters. Why sit there and sleep for three days? Yeah, what the husband did was rotten, but you have a daughter to think about.
She has such bad self esteem. Right now, I wonder if she will ever get that esteem going in the right direction!
We shall see in the nextr installments.
I can't imagine the feelings, the turmoil, of having your life fall apart around you. Today's segment is just so sad, although very good and very captivating. I am anxious to read more and see how Faith will get her mother through this ordeal once again. Children - they are our saving grace, no?
Is anyone else bothered by the obviousness, and the author's repeated plays on the obviousness, of Faith's name? The story is interesting enough, and I guess the title was fair warning of the author's intentions, but I still cringe at every Faith-will-get-me-through-this-type line. I find myself thinking, "ok, ok, I get it! Enough!"
The play-on-words scheme is a hall mark of this author. Her writing tends to be somewhat forumlaic and predictable, athough the subject matters are deeply important. Light reading with a heavy message. If I didn't have four other weightier books on my desk, I might pick this one up. Good for a long road trip.
A little sympathy, please ---
Yes, would that all were strong and impenetrable, but, alas, that is not the case. Some, if not most of us, are frail beings with breaking points of one kind or another -- even though physically "adult", emotional "children"- try looking at it from that point of view - may help you to be a little less judgemental concerning the main character's "weakness" -- and who knows - she may grow stronger -- isn't there a saying something like -- "if it doesn't kill us, will make us stronger"?
Yours friendly -- Doris --
Sorry, I can't agree... Having been cheated on myself (with two daughters), I can't understand how killing herself because "My mind was frozen on a single thought: If Colin didn't want me anymore, why should I?" Neither can I relate to a comment like "I never told anyone there about the pregnancy, just let them figure it out themselves--and it took me years to admit that was because I was hoping to miscarry. I had convinced myself that it was Faith, a small ball of cells inside me, who made Colin turn to another woman." She is too wrapped up in her husband, too concerned about what he thinks about her... Also, I was dissapointed with her the way she snapped at Faith in the car. Anyway, as far as I am concerned, kids come before the man (father or not) and I have to stick with my opinion that our main character needs to get her act together, she is lacking self respect.
I have no doubt that this book will be a good read :)
I'm with Doris on this one...I think Mariah is very real, and her transformation will be the whole point of this story. Not all of us are born with the "instant mother/the chidren always come first" gene. I identify with Mariah almost completely. She's lucky her mother is around for her right now. Maybe when Faith is grown up, Mariah will be strong for her, too.
I am farther into the book than the club and it is indeed a most intriguing read. I can see where you are coming from, Heather and any others who want to shake her - but remember - she was suffering from "depression" as real an illness as pneumonia and has to recover.
Hope you all continue wih the book past this week's excerpts cause it's going to take us into unknown and mysterious lands -
Happy reading -- Doris --
I have to agree with Doris on this. Not all people handle crisis the same. Some remain strong or gain strength from it, others simply fall apart. In this instance, we have a character with very low self-esteem, who finds that withdrawing into herself is the easiest way to deal. Sure - we want her to stay strong (especially for her daughter's sake), we would hope that we ourselves could stay strong, but unfortunately many of us have a weak sense of our own strengths. Yes, it's annoying. Yes, you want to shake her and tell her to move on - but for many, it takes time to find our inner strengths.
For the record, my romance and twenty year marriage to my honey is so much better than anything I had in my mind and much more exciting and satisfying than any story I have ever read! I am so glad that I was not limited to what women think defines romantic!
Well, here is yet another segment of her life. She still thinks Colin is going to come and rescue her. Her daughter doesn't talk and she doesn't care too much, letting her mother figure it out.
I am amazed that she doesn't bond with her daughter now. I would be beside myself with worry about Faith. She would come first in my book. After all, Mariah is the adult and should know how to weather life. She is to care for her child.
I know people can get emotionally fragile, but this book is driving me nuts with the fragile. Snap out of it! No man is worth this. Is everything she believes in just being married to some jerk who doesn't care for her? That is pathetic! Admit it! Women are so much, much more than being some man's wife!
Well, I hope she does snap out of it. I guess I will keep reading to see if the author can get her out of this horrible mess.
Saying of a clinically depressed person "she should have a backbone" is like saying to a diabetic "she should have a healthy pancreas." Not all of us are as strong emotionally as we would like to be, but we can learn and grow as I expect Mariah is going to do. If she were already the strong, confident woman that some of you seem to demand she be, what would the book be about?
I just wanted to thank you for your post pointing out that depression is a physical illness not something you can snap out of. As someone who has suffered with it for years I know. I do think Mariah would benefit from some therapy to help with the depression and self esteem issues.
I have a hard time reading about a woman like this. Waiting by the phone for her husband to call her and convince her that she was hallucinating? Trying to clean herself up before running downstairs because he MIGHT be on the porch. Whatever. But that isn't even the worst part, it fails in comparison to the fact that she is an incredibly rotten mother (thus far). She isn't even concerned about how this could be affecting her daughter. She is self centered, pathetic and completely lacking any kind of self-esteem. Despite my dislike for our main character, the writing is good. I always consider a book to be well written if it makes me angry or makes me cry and in this case, it is making me very angry at Mariah.
I can understand both Doris' and Heather's point of view. I have been depressed and laying around hoping he would call, "sitting pretty" in case he showed up...but at the same time I overcame my depression enough to still interact with the kids. It seems like Mariah's mothering instincts should overpower her depression just a little here; after all, her daughter witnessed the whole scene too. I just hope Mariah gets it together soon.
How about a little pique towards the grandmother? This is the second incident of depression and she ought to be aware of the gravity of the situation.. Rather than harsh persuasion to "get it together", how about some serious intervention, seeking professional help and taking proactive steps towards assuring care for Faith.
I am enjoying reading everyone's comments as much as the actual book...maybe even more. Although Mariah's doormat personality is driving me nuts too.... and I'm wondering about where her priorities are when it comes to motherhood(it's rarely "convenient" to be a mother, duh)it is pretty obvious this woman has serious issues.I certainly don't believe in the "come on, snap out of it" message to a severely depressed person however I DO feel empathy for anyone LIVING or dealing with a depressed person too. It's not easy and you do feel like screaming at them at times. At least you feel like telling her to please get back on the Prozac.
As much as I am enjoying this week's read (and I am - frustration and all), I am enjoying even more the responses and interaction of all of you who have already shared your reactions to it. To me, this is the second best part of this book club -- . Thanks to all of you for sharing...
Hi, all. yeah the number of responses for this book is amazing. I really like it-can identify with the main character and have cried over almost all the reads. Like I said, I can identify - not the ineptitude of motherhood, or the feelings of being rejected by the father of your child, or the looniness of being depressed and/or lonely. OK actually all that. These types of "women done wrong by the man" are actually MY therapy. Thanks!
I will preface this with the fact that I am former Women's History major and I generally take a progressive view- but please if I ever cowtow to a man like this character does-- (Going to the trouble to replace a cracked mirror and then hanging it somewhere I can't even see into!) just kill me before I ever even get on the road to suicide! :) Either the author is being ridiculous or this is truly the kind of "chick lit" that portrays women as weak and totally dependent on men.
Love is one thing, but cheating on and ignoring your wife (and the woman putting up with it) is altogether another.
My favorite past time is reading, and this has been a story line that has peaked my interest. Having experienced divorce and raising a daughter who was the one thing in my life that got me through, I can relate to Mariah in some ways. Had it not been for this reading club, I would have probably never read this book, but now, I can't wait to buy it and get started reading to see what happens next!
Well, I have to admit that I will not be sorry to see this book go nor will I read it any time soon. I have to agree though that the mother deserves a couple of gold stars for putting up with Mariah. I absolutely love it when she says "You did your best; that's what was important. You tried. Which is more than I can say for you today." Any way, as I said before I very much enjoy the writing as it is very good. And I can only hope that Mariah gets her act together for the sake of her daughter. What a perfect Friday conclusion for this story "The difference between then and now," Joan Standish says, "is that this time he's done you a favor." For once, you have to love the lawyer :) Hope everyone has a nice weekend. See you all Monday :)
Please don't give up on this book yet -- It stays with this story but also goes off into a completely different direction at the same time --
and I am sure the mother is as some of you have hoped is going to "develop some backbone" and come into her own --
after all - as another has said - without all this that has caused so much discussion - there would be no story -- Doris --
-- woud be interesting to know the ages of all of us participants in this discussion -- and see how or if that affects our reactions --
This has been such a lively and interesting discussion -- why don't those of us who continue reading continue to post here from time to time in our reading with our thoughts on the "rest of the story"?
Also, I don't think of our discussion as a "whose side am I on" but lots of opinions about different issues -- so I for one would like to hear from any of you who wish to continue offering your thoughts, etc. -- Hope to hear from you all -- Doris --
After reading The Da Vinci Code, if you had any sloppy spirituality there was alot of doubt about religion. I find reading Keeping Faith very refreshing, and up lifting. I haven't read the whole book yet, and kind of know where it's going but it is still a good read. I always wanted to read Jodi Picoult, and from what I hear this one isn't even her best. Keep reading.
I completely agree with "I don't think of our discussion as a "whose side am I on" but lots of opinions about different issues " That is after all what the message boards are for, I hope that nothing I said came out as argumentative. Considering the amount of feedback on this book, it's a shame that we can't sign up to continue to get excerpts and all finish the book together :( I'll give my library a call and see if they have it so I can read it with all of you and continue to leave my feedback. It would be good if we were able to all do a chapter a day so we're all on the same page.
I also love that there were so many posts! It's great to see all of us here talking! If nothing else, you have to love the book for getting such great response!
Oh and Doris, I am 23, single and have three daughters ages 7, 5 and 21 mos.
Hi - well, Heather, I'm 66 - oh that hurt - first time I've had to say that - just had a birthday and said I was always going to be 65+ from now on - have 3 children also -- son 46 - dtr 43 - dtr 36 - and 3 gr. children - girl 17 - boy 4 - and baby girl 1 - last but not least one West Highland Terrier dog - Toby 6 - and oh yes, husband 1 -
Well, I've come up with this idea and now don't know how to implement it - how do we go about posting when we are not at the same page - don't want to say too much for those who are not as far along -- any ideas out there for how we can go about continuing our "little book club"? - Doris -
O.K., I was able to get a copy of this book from the library and will stick it out to the end. This is definitely not my "type" of book. I find myself rooting for Ian Fletcher, and hoping tthat some logical explanation will be forthcoming. It's an easy read and I will finish it by mid week. Incidentally, I'm detecting some autobiographical threads. Has anyone else read Picoult's bio?
I like your idea Doris, about coming back to this book to discuss it as we read more. Don't know if there is a limit on the number of posts for one book, but it's worth a try. I just hope I can get this book quickly enough.
Okay, I've finished the book and I for one thoroughly enjoyed it but don't want to say too much so as to not give anything away. One thing to remember in this book club tho' is that at the end of a five day read we are only - in this case - on page 21 out of a 422 page paperback. See how much feedback was amassed in a mere 21 pages.
All I will say is I think a good book is one giving you info that you perhaps did not know about various things - leaving you still thinking of it - and giving you lots of info to research if you are so inclined - or just things to still think about as in --- ??? ---
After reading the various posts, I just had to read the book. I liked the fact that people reacted strongly to the book thus far, and while the topic did not attract me, the controvery did. I was hooked into finishing the book in a couple of days - I thought it was a good read. Somewhat formulamatic and predictible, but yet still one I wanted to "find out" what was truly happening. So then I got to the very last page and I could not understand what the author was trying to say.
This message has been edited by chapteraday on Jan 29, 2004 10:25 AM
Re: I finished reading Keeping Faith, but I have a Q?
January 29 2004, 11:26 PM
Not quite sure what you mean by your question - but think perhaps if you go to the above website and read the interview with the author, you will find the answer at the very end of the interview when they are discussing this book and the ending. Hope that is what you were referring to - I, too, kept reading that last little portion over and over and finally felt I understood - and apparently was right, for that is what the author said -- so right from the horse's mouth -- so to speak --
Please let me know if that was a help to you --
Well, I'm down to the last 75 pages and still wondering why I've wasted so much time on this book. There is so much that is just unrealistic, and I still don't have any interest, positive or negative, in the characters. I'll hang in there to the end and hope that it improves. This is the last Picoult book that I'll read, by far the worst of the three that I've endured.
Ann, well, must say you've got lots more stick-to-itness than I have to be down to the last 75 pages and still not liking it -- maybe it's H O P E that is keeping you wih it that it will get better.
Of course, you know I loved it and must admit it is not my usual type read -- but something about it - all of the different possibilities/probabilities/questons is what kept my interest and logic is usually my barometer, but in this book my logic seemed to take on several different forms.
Learned a lot about different denominations and really liked the characters, Maraih, et al.
I even went so far as to look up the last illness -- knew about the first one that the prosecutor was using against Mariah.
To me, it was most realistic -- you just had to pick your own reality. What is the saying --"reality is a perception"?
Cheers to you for keeping with it to the end - Doris -
Thanks goodness I perservered! The last 75 pages (the custody hearing) were the most interesting and entertaining. I think the worst part of this book was that none of the characters were likeable...until the judge showed up. They all, pardon the pun, were lacking in character in one way or another and didn't show much hope (sorry!!) about growing or changing. And the instant romance part was a real stretch.
I read to challenge my mind and learn. This, and most of Picoult's work that I've read, doesn't do that. She always gives serious subjects such light treatment. If you liked this one, you'll probably enjoy Plain Truth as well.
The chatter has been interesting and I've enjoyed "meeting" all of you.
Glad you at least enjoyed the last 75 pages. I found more in the book to "think about" and "ponder" than apparently you did. Maybe the subject matter of Keeping Faith appealed more to me than you and made my usually "logical" mind try to solve the "mystery". I too enjoyed the courtroom drama of the book.
And since I am the one who RAVED so much about this book, feel I must confess that I listened to her "Picture Perfect" on tape next and thought it would never end. And yes, seems you are right about her having an "issue" that she addresses in all her books tho' have only read the two - but the last one I "read" seemed to try to weave too many issues into one book and I just plain got tired of the "main" issue or the whole book. So, there's my not so positive critique of that book.
I still enjoyed "Keeping Faith" and may try her again but now my daughter is reading that one and want to get her reaction to it.
Have really enjoyed all the responses - did you by any chance read "The secret life of bees" which was on the club a good while back? I did enjoy that one and it had a lot of discussion also, I think I remember.
Would like to hear a book or books recommendation from you also -- Doris --
Well, Doris, I read so much that they probably wouldn't print all my recommendations! For a delightful reading experience, go with the Alexander McCall Smith series that starts with "The No. One Ladies Detective Agency." They are so much fun, but all with deep meaning. I also have the two books by Jonathan Hull, "Losing Julia" and "The Distance from Normandy". Very profound and so engrossing you just can't put them down. For some English history, give "The Other Boleyn Girl" a try. Author is Phillippa Gregory. For American history, try "One Thousand White Women" by Jim Fergus. I won't try to synopsize that one, check it out on Amazon. I also just finished listening to the tape of Rohinton Mistry's "A Fine Balance". Sure wasn't looking forward to it, but found it to be absolutely fabulous. If the membership is my "live" book club is any indication, you'll like some of these and detest others. That's why there are so many books in the library!!!
well, I'm about half way through and I admit, I'm struggling.....there's just not enough "there" to captivate me and the characters don't seem real. Some of the things that Faith says and does just don't ring true to me for a girl her age and I was surprised to read that Ms. Picoult is actually a mother(!!). Ouch! I didn't mean to be so harsh. I am going to TRY and stick with it, esp after reading Ann's comments about the last 75 pgs but I have found Jodi Picoult's book to be the same for me in one way: they always sound good...and start off good but somehow get diluted about half way through.....I did like The Pact tho.Meanwhile, I have to thank you for sending me to daniel glick's website.....can you BELIEVE his wife left him??? Da*n, I was falling in love with his writing and THEN I saw his picture......LOL!!!!!!!Oh, Ps....I'm a "cradle catholic" so all this stigmata stuff is not really that interesting to me.....have read many accounts of it etc...however I am enjoying learning more about the jewish faith and love the mysticism .
Glad to see you here. Never heard the expression "cradle catholic" - assume it means you were christened but are not now a "practicing catholic".
I had never heard of stigmata so that was very interesting to me - also am usually a very logical person but found myself trying to figure out what was really going on and even surrendering to the idea of maybe -- so the book was like a mystery to me of could it be the mother - don't see how -- could the child herself be doing this -- there again don't see how or is this "other" thing a possibility?
That's what kept me so interested throughout - and as I said my daughter could not put it down once she started it.
Funny how it is with books - my best friend and I both love to read - but very often - most often - are not in agreement as to our preferences.
I am not one who feels I have to finish a book once I start it and even have been known to skip to the end and then go back and start where I left off.
Hope you finally enjoy -- if not - you have my permission to skip ahead or to the very end or anywhere in between -- Keep me posted --
- Doris -
you are so cool! I love reading all your posts on the different forums....which do you subscribe to? I am currently just fiction/ NF and good news. for awhile i tried romance but just didn't enjoy it.
well, you are partially correct! as a "cradle catholic" i actually mean yes, I was baptized as a catholic when i was 6 wks old (the cradle reference) but still am practicing (or trying to, lol, which isn't without its difficulties these days, lol)I don't quite know what to make of the stigmata accounts.....very interesting.....but in the end i just try and stay open minded and just conclude that because we do not necessarily have a rational/scientific explanation for something does not automatically mean it might not be true. have I totally confused you??? !!!!!! LOL...not my intent. Well, you'll be happy to know I've ordered both MOnkey Dancing and Powder Burn. I absolutely LOVE the way he writes. And you are so right.....we each react so differently to a story or author's voice, it's amazing. I've spent the past 2 days at our library's annual used book sale and have brought home waaaay too many books for one human to ever read but for .50 a paperback and a $1 a hardcover how could i resist???!!!! Oh, and yes, I may begin skimming Keeping Faith...I usually read a book a week and I'm getting hung up on this one. thank you, mother, for giving me permission to skip!!!! :)
Good to hear from you again -- I did think later after my response concerning "cradle catholic" that perhaps I misinterpreted and it did mean you were a Catholic from birth - hope I did not offend.
I am in the mystery, fiction and non-fiction clubs. Love a good mystery -- and that is sort of how I read Keeping Faith as I said before. And as I also said, I usually think "logically" -- but that book just kept gnawing at my illogical side -- and is still gnawing a bit but there is another possibility --- ???
Saw your response to Nancy - and must say I had to go back and read the read to see what she was talking about -- don't approve of those words either - but did appreciate the honesty of the journal.
Yes, I, too, am definitely getting that book. There is also an interview with him on the net - "write from home - interview" etc. under the search Peter Glick, I think. Thought that would make you salivate -- ha -
Must go - today is my grandson's 4th birthday and we are going down and stay a few days till my gr. dtr.'s first birthday next week so I will be enjoying - enjoying. Hope to see you again here or on one of the other club's forums next week. - Doris -
I have read many of Jodi Picoult's books. They are different from your normal run of the mill topics and they really leave you with a lot of thought. All of her books I remember distinctly afterwards unlike so many books that leave my head not too soon after I have read them. This was one that I really enjoyed, although like most of her books, it's not a happily ever after book.