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on 8 March 2007
Faith is a 7 year old little girl. "Keeping Faith" is the story of a custody battle between her mum Mariah, and her dad Colin - who gets to keep Faith?

7 years before the novel begins Mariah found out that her husband, Colin, was having an affair, and she fell to pieces. After a failed suicide attempt Colin has her committed to a mental hospital where she later finds out she is pregnant... with Faith. So when they let her out of the hospital she turns her life around and learns how to be a mum.

Then Colin does it again. This time she catches him in the act, and Faith also is witness to his infidelity. Separation is inevitable. Colin goes to live with his mistress and when the divorce is settled, he freely gives over custody of his daughter to Mariah.

However, neither of them account for what comes next. Faith starts to perform miracles and to show "stigmata", involuntary bleeding corresponding to Christ's wounds. Faith becomes the subject of media interest - TV, media, journalists, Rabbis, Fathers (as in the Catholic Church), priests, psychiatrists... they all want a piece of Faith. What in the world is happening to Faith? And why? Needless to say, all this attention results in Colin wanting his daughter back. Doubts creep in... is Mariah doing this to her? The heart-wrenching custody battle ensues.

Wonderfully researched, beautifully written. You can't fault Picoult here. She takes an explosive subject and skilfully weaves her way around the different arguments and religious and non-religious approaches. Very thought provoking, and a page-turning read!
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on 18 February 2006
Jodi Picoult weaves a tale of marital breakdown set against a religious backdrop concerning a Jewish girl and a Catholic faith. Faith, the central character in the book, is a young girl troubled by her parents' divorce and has begun talking to God whilst her mother, Mariah, struggles to keep her sanity whilst still believing her daughter. Mariah will do anything to keep custody of her daughter whilst her husband believes that she is endangering her daughter's life. Picoult uses many philosophical issues such as the existence of God and the possibility of resurrection against medical evidence to provide the book with sustenance and texture. Once again, Jodi Picoult's representation of a court case (like in her book, My Sister's Keeper) keeps you on tenterhooks and is one of the most tense parts of the story. Your must read this book!
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on 10 April 2007
I've read 5 of Jodi Picoult's novels now and this is the first of which I have felt compelled to write a review.

I thought the story was very moving, well written and thought provoking.

Jodi Picoult portrays each character extremely well as I felt for them all in different ways, the way their emotions were portrayed really brought me, the reader, into the story.

I'm not religious, but the book had me thinking more and more about different faiths, and people's beliefs and perceptions of them.

Although the story took a couple of chapters to get going, it became a page turner and I struggled to put it down, particularly towards the end during the courtroom scenes.

As a mother, I found a lot of the experiences Mariah White went through and a lot of her thoughts, although unlifelike, very close to home.

I recommend this book to anyone who would like a thought provoking, emotional page-turner.
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on 29 June 2011
This is my first Jodi Picoult book, but it will not be my last. My wife and one of my daughters, mature Christians, couldn't finish it, even though they are Jodi Picoult fans, and one of my reading group found it disturbing. So there are challenges.

The New York Daily News says, "Picoult is at her best when she is writing about motherhood." This is essentially a book about motherhood, but by the end it is not clear who is mother to whom. There are four main characters, Faith's friend (God as mother), Faith, Mariah (Faith's mother) and Millie (Mariah's Mother). It is signficant that Millie's name doesn't appear until she is addressed by Colin (the schmuck). Until then, in relation to Maria and Faith, she is mother, Grandma, Ma and Mom. Maria is always 'Mommy' to Faith, . This is Faith's first word on two key occassions. The prologue introduces the main themes, Maria's fear of reality expressed in her OCD, "I don't like surprises", and her attempts at completely ordering and controlling of life, (of which there are hints in Colin's new love, Jessica; "At the departure gate Colin watches Jessica check the tickets for the hundredth time"),and the possibility of death, Millie's "coffin-table". The key men are predominantly unpleasant characters, Ian the atheistic protagonist, with the heroic past and vulnerable secret, and Colin,the serial betrayer, but both experience growth in their humanity over the course of the novel. Joan Standish, Dr Keller and Kenzie van der Hoven are portayed much more positively.

Picoult handles the Judeo-christian traditions well on the whole, although the Catholic figures are possibly a little charicatured. The ambiguity of Faith's unseen friend is completed with the twist on the final page. This I found the least satisfying part of the book. The extent of the miraculous healing, and the character of Faith's vicarious suffering, make it clear that God is around, but would she behave as she does in this book?
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on 25 June 2006
I'm definitely a fan of Jodi Picoult and before reading `Keeping Faith' I'd read My Sisters Keeper, Vanishing Acts, The Pact, Plain Truth, Salem Falls & Perfect Match. I love Picoult's style of writing as she always manages to suck you in so you feel you know all the characters intimately. While I was disappointed with The Pact and Perfect Match I was not disappointed with Keeping Faith.

The story centers around Mariah, Colin and Faith White. Mariah and Faith arrive home unexpectedly and find Colin in bed with another woman. Colin has had many extra-marital affairs and the first time resulted in Mariah trying to take her life. Instead of getting her the help she needed Colin had her institutionalized for four months. While there Mariah found out she was pregnant with Faith. Faith is now 7yrs old and the one constant in Mariah's life. When Colin leaves after his latest dalliance Faith develops an imaginary friend. Mariah isn't too worried until Faith starts referring to her friend as God. Shortly afterwards Faith starts exhibiting stigmata and `healing' powers. When word of Faiths healing powers gets out every news crew and cult from here to kingdom-come flocks to the White's front lawn. When Colin sees the coverage of his daughter on the news he initiates legal proceedings to have full custody of Faith.

This is a fantastic book which I managed to read in about 3 days.....I probably would have finished it sooner only I had to go to pesky work! The characters are explained so well that you can almost picture them in you're mind as you're reading. Whatever your feelings about God and miracles this is one book that will have you wondering one way or the other. I definitely rank this book up on the best books list with My Sisters Keeper and Plain Truth.
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on 25 February 2006
If you're already a fan of Jodi Picoult, you'll be aware that her books tend to follow the format of serious decisions and dilemmas, legally, ethically, and maternally. She writes as if her books are pure crime stories - whodunnit, pageturner types - while simultaneously juggling the moral issue she's chosen to address. Somehow her style manages to perfectly balance the two, and she's come up with some difficult-to-define but incredibly gripping way of turning an ethical dilemma into a suspense novel that'll make you stay up reading till 2am.
Unlike some of her previous books, 'Keeping Faith' will require the average reader to suspend their disbelief a little in order to get totally involved. If you're put off by anything you think might verge on the religious or supernatural, this probably isn't the best JP novel to start with. If you're open to a little suggestion, jump in. When you're still awake at 2, don't say I didn't warn you.
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on 30 April 2008
To me "Keeping Faith" is one of her best books to date, and I have read a few. I think peoples opinions of this book vary so much because a lot of it is down to taste on the subject matter.
It seems to start where Maria White, who thinks her and her husband have a great relationship, finds out he's cheating and she's with Faith when he's caught out with another woman. After he leaves, Faith starts a friendship with an imaginary friend initially called "guard". It's when she starts quoting passages from the bible, even though not from a religious or church going family, that her mother starts to worry. Her actions that follow, become known to the public and crowds gather outside her home. Some believers and some thinking Mariah is just trying to make some money from the little girl.
It makes you wonder whether this could really happen or not and Jodi Picoult leaves you wondering. Her handling of the subject matter is fantastic, and the way she makes the various relationships evolve in the book is very well handled.
I know some of the reviews on here are mixed, but certainly give it a go, and although you may not believe the subject matter it really does make for a good piece of fiction.
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VINE VOICEon 28 March 2007
'Keeping Faith' ranks in the top three Jodi Picoults books I have read (for me, 'Plain Truth' is hard to beat...); it's fast paced and well written as usual, keeping me flying over those pages till the end - which is where its form kinked ever so slightly - that last page; Tho eagerly awaiting a twist in the tale (I was SURE there had to be one), it was a bit of a let down when it came. Still, like I say, a thoroughly enjoyable Picoult - easy to read with an interesting religious angle. I wouldnt go so far as to say it was 'thought provoking', that would be a bit heavy, but it was certainly entertaining - a great beach read.
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on 31 May 2006
I'm definitely a fan of Jodi Picoult and before reading `Keeping Faith' I'd read My Sisters Keeper, Vanishing Acts, The Pact, Plain Truth, Salem Falls & Perfect Match. I love Picoult's style of writing as she always manages to suck you in so you feel you know all the characters intimately. While I was disappointed with The Pact and Perfect Match I was not disappointed with Keeping Faith.

The story centers around Mariah, Colin and Faith White. Mariah and Faith arrive home unexpectedly and find Colin in bed with another woman. Colin has had many extra-marital affairs and the first time resulted in Mariah trying to take her life. Instead of getting her the help she needed Colin had her institutionalized for four months. While there Mariah found out she was pregnant with Faith. Faith is now 7yrs old and the one constant in Mariah's life. When Colin leaves after his latest dalliance Faith develops an imaginary friend. Mariah isn't too worried until Faith starts referring to her friend as God. Shortly afterwards Faith starts exhibiting stigmata and `healing' powers. When word of Faiths healing powers gets out every news crew and cult from here to kingdom-come flocks to the White's front lawn. When Colin sees the coverage of his daughter on the news he initiates legal proceedings to have full custody of Faith.

This is a fantastic book which I managed to read in about 3 days.....I probably would have finished it sooner only I had to go to pesky work! The characters are explained so well that you can almost picture them in you're mind as you're reading. Whatever your feelings about God and miracles this is one book that will have you wondering one way or the other. I definitely rank this book up on the best books list with My Sisters Keeper and Plain Truth.
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on 26 July 1999
My first book by Jodi Picoult, will definitely not be my last! An intelligently written, beautiful story which I could not put down! Read this book! You will not be disappointed!
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