Published in 1999. 422 pages.
I was determined to finish a tenth Jodi Picoult novel in 2007 - to reach a total of 77 books for the year and to complete the Reading the Author Challenge. (Challenge host verbivore actually already gave me credit for finishing the challenge, since I'd read nine Jodi Picoult novels this year - but since I had read only two of those since the official start of the challenge, I really wanted to finish the challenge "fair and square.") I was even willing to cheat just a little, and if I finished Keeping Faith last night after midnight but before I went to bed, I was going to count it for 2007. But, alas, I was too sleepy - and I ended up reading the last forty or so pages this morning after I woke up. I am going to consider that I completed the Reading the Author Challenge - and my wrap-up post will be here - but since my policy has been to record books in the month I finish them, Keeping Faith will be my first book of 2008!
I had planned to read Picture Perfect for this last challenge spot - but since a friend had lent me Keeping Faith, I decided I ought to read it first, so I can get it returned. From the description on the back of the book, I wasn't sure how well I was going to like this one. This is an excerpt from the description:
In the aftermath of a sudden divorce, Mariah struggles with depression and [her daughter] Faith begins to confide in an imaginary friend. At first, Mariah dismissed these exchanges as a child's imagination. But when Faith starts reciting passages from the Bible, develops stigmata, and begins to perform miraculous healings, Mariah wonders if her daughter - a girl with no religious background - might actually be seeing God.
I guess I worried - as a believing person - that the religious aspects of the story might not be approached with respect. I should have realized that I did not have been concerned, since in all of Picoult's books that I have read to date, she has handled well a variety of sensitive and difficult issues.
I ended up enjoying Keeping Faith very much. I particularly liked that in Faith's vision of God, God is female. I'm not quite sure about the ending; in some ways it was anticlimatic. But I do think that Keeping Faith makes the top half of my Picoult novel rankings.