First line: There are certain things that I don't talk about.
The book in one sentence: Within a disintegrating marriage, a child of a mixed marriage suddenly claims that she talks with a female God, spouting Bible verses, and developing stigmata ... truth or hoax?
I'd recommend it to: Fans of Jodi Picoult. Anyone who wants a quick yet fulfilling read. Someone not scared to think about religious controversy.
I liked: Another of Picoult's dramas based on the controversial topic of religion and miracles. It explores how two religions - Catholicism and Judaism - react to and decide on what is considered as "miraculous." And what if there is an overlap? ... when a Jewish child is the one exhibiting the blatantly Catholic development of stigmata - considered by Catholics as a blessing - all of which has basis in real life?
It examines different angles of faith: from the viewpoint of a Catholic, a Jew (Mariah and her mother), a child (who not surprisingly is named Faith in this story), and surprisingly, an atheist. Another interesting angle is whether God could actually be a woman, again a very controversial yet a debate rooted in real life. Obviously Picoult did her homework!
It also explores relationships, particularly that of mother and daughter and of a mother's unshakable belief in her child (both Mariah and her mother are tiger mommas.). Initially, one always looks at the simplest explanations for Faith's displays of miracles: is it a ploy to get her parents' attention? is there any evidence of abuse? is it indeed a miracle?
There is also the relationship of husband and wife, and how its disintegration impacts on their relationship with the child. Picoult has a gift for getting into the minds of her characters and I couldn't help but feel for what Mariah was going through.
The story is fast-paced and it that will draw you in and keep you turning the pages. I read this in about a day, anxious as I was to find out the outcome.
I didn't like: The ending. Usually Picoult comes up with an unexpected ending or a bizarre twist somewhere. I guess I was expecting it here. Nothing came.I guess the very premise of the book was the twist in itself.
Verdict: At the least, enjoy it for Picoult's uncanny ability to tell such a plausible and controversial story. At the most, read it and ponder on the many unknowns of life - from the outright miraculous to the everyday miraculous.
Years ago when I found Colin in bed with another woman, I waited three nights and then tried to kill myself. Colin found me and got me to the hospital. The ER doctors told him they had been able to save me, but that isn't true. Somehow that night, I got lost. I became another person, one I do not like to hear about, one I would certainly not recognize.