“You don’t believe in God. But your daughter is talking to angels. What would you do?”
To be honest, the novel was not at all bad; it was an emotional and beautiful book in my opinion. Picoult explores religion bravely taking on provocative and inflammatory topic such as faith, inspiration and religious stigmata in this particular novel which can trigger a great deal of debate, even among the faithful as religion is difficult for some people to discuss.
What was great about the book was that Picoult made Mariah’s – one of the main characters – issues that she has to deal with (infidelity, divorce, custody battle and being a single parent) very much realistic and relatable for other human beings going through similar issues through sensitive and moving writing.
I got irritated by the way with Mariah for describing her marriage in the first chapter as perfect but when she caught her husband with another woman in their bedroom, Mariah says “Oh God, it is happening again”. So obviously that was not the first time he cheated. So why would one describe your marriage as perfect if your spouse has cheated on you before (But this is just of my opinion).
There are two mother-daughter sets in this book: Faith and Mariah, and Mariah and Millie. As a reader, I got to learn a lot about the relationships amongst these females. Mariah starts to believe that she is not a great mother to Faith especially when Mariah starts to fall apart after her divorce and becomes depressed and needs her mom to help her look after Faith. She also believes her mother, Millie, was a better mom to her than she is to Faith and Millie lets her know that motherhood is a “work-in-progress”. Although I am not a mother, but from others’ experiences, I do believe that statement. What I liked about Mariah was that she came back fighting for her daughter after her state of depression obviously with the help of her mom. Here you can truly feel the bond between the mother-daughter sets.
Soon after Mariah and her husband separates, Faith starts seeing and talking to God and in people’s opinions are performing miracles, healing the sick, etc. Then you question yourself, are the so-called miracles really happening or is it because Faith is seeking attention. The way Picoult describes the “miracles” are really believable though.
However, I have to say, some of the characters suffer from lack of thorough development. Also, the ending seems a bit less unclear so I think the ending could have been better.
Quotes I liked from the novel:
“The truth doesn’t always set you free; people prefer to believe prettier, neatly wrapped lies”
“Sometimes you can see things happen right in front of your eyes and still jump to the wrong conclusions.”
“You can believe something really hard,’ Faith says, ‘and still be wrong.”
“My mother used to tell me that when push comes to shove, you always know who to turn to. That being a family isn’t a social construct but an instinct.”
Synopsis on back-cover:
When Mariah White catches her husband with another woman, her life starts to fall apart. And when her daughter, Faith, begins to confide in an imaginary friend, her own brush with insanity starts to take on a darker meaning.
Then Faith appears to start performing miracles, and all at once the situation is spiraling beyond Mariah’s control. Is Faith truly seeing God? Or is she just a troubled little girl seeking refuge from her parents’ divorce?
When it comes to matters of faith, it’s hard to know who to believe…