I read this for an online book discussion. While I have enjoyed the other three Picoult novels I have read, I did not like this one.
The Faith of the title is a seven-year-old girl whose parents divorce after she and her mother catch her father with a naked woman in the bathroom. Not long after, Faith starts seeing God (a female who she calls her Guard), miracles happen in her presence, and she develops stigmata.
Word gets around and suddenly there's a media circus around Faith and her mother Mariah, who has custody. A tele-atheist named Ian hears about Faith and decides to prove she's a fake. Instead, he falls for Mariah, and she for him.
Meanwhile, Faith's father Colin decides to sue for custody and uses Mariah's previous suicide attempt (after finding him in bed with an earlier woman) and subsequent hospitalization (she was involuntarily committed by him) as the basis for a Munchausen by Proxy accusation. When the case goes to trial, Faith is in the hospital, dying......But of course, it all ends well.
I disliked nearly all of the characters in this book, including Faith, and found them unbelievable. Why would two agnostic parents (one brought up Jewish) name their daughter Faith? It does make for a clever book title, though. Faith is a cipher. While she might be making up her visions of God, the stigmata are real. I felt some sympathy for Mariah, particularly with the way the despicable Colin used her nervous breakdown against her, but also felt she was a wimp. Ian was totally unlikeable and the romance was completely unrealistic, as was the behavior of the guardian ad litem Kenzie. I can't recommend this disappointing book.
© Amanda Pape - 2011
[This book was borrowed from and returned to my university library.]