Jodi Picoult's books are always chock full of drama and plot twists. Sometimes, they are a tad over the top, but I always enjoy them. Keeping Faith was no different. Seven year old Faith's family is torn apart by her father's infidelity and her mother's resulting depression. Suddenly, she begins to have visions of a female God and recite scriptures that she would have no way of knowing. Faith also seems to possess the power to heal others. She becomes the focus of a media circus, scrutiny from the Catholic church, and a nasty custody battle. Picoult also weaves in a love story between Faith's mother and a man who is a self-proclaimed professional atheist trying to debunk the hype surrounding Faith.
Part of what makes Keeping Faith so compelling is the way that Picoult makes readers think about the connection (or lack thereof) between spirituality and religion. Faith was raised in a nonreligious home, which causes many church leaders to question why God would choose to communicate with her. To me, it is her lack of religious training that makes her an ideal vessel. Faith's complete innocence is part of what ultimately turns many sceptics to believers, yet it stands as a stumbling block for those who consider themselves closest to God. Interesting.
I enjoyed this book, although there were parts that seemed to drag on a little longer than I would have liked. It evoked many theological issues that could really lead to great discussion. As is typical of Picoult, there were twists and turns in the plot that kept me wondering what would happen next. I appreciated the originality of the topic and the unpredictability of the story. Picoult's writing style is always enjoyable. It was an easy read, but it made me think, too- a great choice to start fulfilling my New Year's Resolution!