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Matters of Faith

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  508 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
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Paperback, 321 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Berkley Trade
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Apr 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Kristy Kiernan has many gifts as a writer (and as for her gifts as a person, well, there's not enough room to write about them on only one Internet).

Two of those gifts shine the most brightly in this, her second book:

1. Characterization: Kristy writes characters so complex, so multidimensional, so REAL, that you feel that any moment they're going to step out of the page and strike up a conversation. When they suffer, you suffer along with them. And when they find their moments of redemption an
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chloe is feeling the effects of a slightly strained marriage and the discomfort of her son, Marshall, bringing home a new girlfriend who is part of an odd group of a small religious sect who has sent her to college on scholarship. Marshall has been searching for some kind of faith—any kind, really, since he saw his friend die at age twelve. But the entire family is thrown into a nightmare when Marshall’s girlfriend, Ava, sneaks peanut butter to Chloe’s younger daughter, Meghan while out on a boa ...more
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Honestly, the reason I decided to read this book is because of my son’s food allergies (click here to read more about this); I thought than any book touching on this topic deserves a chance from me. Of course, this book isn’t a novel of food allergies (thankfully!) – it’s an intimate look at one family dealing with multiple crises all at once.

As I thought about this book and how to explain it – without too many spoilers! – I found myself thinking of the recent tragedy in Steven Curtis Chapman’s

Jul 26, 2009 rated it liked it
This goes on my "ehhh..." list - quick, pretty fluffy read (fluffy in the Jodi Picoult/Anita Schreve kind of way, not Danielle Steele) that has some good parts, but also some really silly who can really get all fired up about a peanut allergy??

It's the story of a husband & wife who have hit a distant spell in their marriage, and a peanut-allergy related incident, propelled by their son's crazy biatch of a girlfriend, that tears the family apart.

If you're looking for a no-brain
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This story tugged at my heart. While it wasn't what I envisioned in regards to reading a book with the title "Matters of Faith" - it had its own subtle way of showing the importance of faith, whether you believe in something certain or not. I am now determined to read Kristy's other book, "Catching Genius" because this one was THAT good that I'm really interested in reading her other work. They were not kidding when they said that they will leave readers of Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve clamorin ...more
Lois Duncan
Apr 19, 2010 rated it liked it
I first read CATCHING GENIUS by Kristy Kiernan. I found her a good writer, but I didn't get caught up in the story. I thought I'd give her another try, and so I read MATTERS OF FAITH. The subject itself was extremely interesting and I learned a lot about food allergies, but then it's as if the story sort of ran out. I think the problem is that she gives us everything up front, leaving no room for surprises.
Jessica Mauk
Oct 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Well written and nice character development. This isn't a live changing read, but was fun and light and easy to get through.
Aug 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm not quite sure how to rate this book. I can tell you that it had me crying, laughing... thinking. I could not put the book down and finished it within a day.

This book is perfect for anyone who wants to know "a day (or more)in the life of" a child with food allergies. This book is a "food allergy mother's" worst nightmare. It talks about the unending battle of keeping a child with life-threatening food allergies safe and alive. Every single minute of every single day is a minute that you hav
Nov 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Emily Holupka
It would be tempting to write this book off as one of many “just another” novels. With family drama as the structure and religion as the conflict, it would be easy to shelve this book right alongside an Anita Shreve “failing marriage” novel or a Jodi Piccoult “my child is dying/arrested/pregnant” novel. Husband/wife, mother/son, and father/daughter relationships always generate complicated, interesting stories; the problem is that most of them have already been told this way using this mother’s ...more
Sep 18, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a good summary:

At age twelve, Marshall Tobias saw his best friend killed by a train. It was then that he began his search for faith; delving into one tradition, then discarding it for another. While his parents were at odds over his behavior, they found common ground with his little sister Meghan, whose severe food allergies required careful attention.

Now Marshall is home from college with his first real girlfriend. Meghan is thrilled to have her around, but there is more to Ada than m
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
The turning points in my life have always arrived disguised as daily life. I never get the opportunity or have the sixth sense to stop and examine them, to time-stamp them on my soul, whisper to myself that this, this thing, this simple boat ride in the Everglades, this phone ringing, this drive home twenty minutes late, was the thing that might do me in.

I won Matters of Faith by Kristy Kiernan a while ago at a giveaway hosted by Heather at Age 30+... A Lifetime of Books. I read it today during
May 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, owned-read
I just finished the book, and I can't rate it right now*. I'm conflicted, which is the emotion I felt while reading. It's a well-written book. It's interesting. Once I started reading, I really couldn't stop. I thought the characters were well-developed, but I couldn't relate to any of them. I think this is my main barrier to being able to rate this book right now. I understood, intellectually, why certain characters would make these actions or hold these beliefs, I just couldn't relate to any o ...more
Feb 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this well-written novel very much. The author effectively explored how people can go wrong in the name of faith/religion, how unscrupulous people can prey on the faith of others to further their own agendas, and how we can mistake other emotions and motivations as "faith," but how ultimately true faith can sustain us (and may be the ONLY thing that can sustain us) through the worst of life's events and carry us to a new and better life. Big issues, addressed in an interesting narrative ...more
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Well, you were right Janet... this is VERY Jodi Picoult! I thought that Kristy was great with her character development and she kept me guessing as to what was going to happen then entire time. I really had a hard time putting it down. As I mentioned before I had a HUGE struggle with the wife/mother, I felt that she truly was self centered and focused on how these things affected her. I was thankful that the ending (without spoiling of course) gave me some hope. I wish that I had some closure wi ...more
Apr 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Peggy, Kari, Julia
I'm guessing I stumbled on this book at one out of the thirty or so food allergy awareness sites I read. My daughters each have a severe peanut allergy so I could relate, in part, to some of this story.

This is also a story about a teenager needing to find himself and going through several common (and some not so common, I'm guessing) religions to define who he is. I can relate in part to this, also. During the course of the book, a marriage wavers on divorce, striking a chord with me that I'd n
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
If you like Jodi Picoult, you will probably like this book. A boy experimenting with different religions as a result of his trauma in witnessing a friend being hit by a train meets a girl at college with some interesting religious views. One is lack of medical intervention. When the two are out with his younger sister, who has severe food allergies, he allows the girlfriend to give his sister a small amount of peanut butter cookie while they are out on a boat miles from anyone. As the little gir ...more
Aug 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
My third novel in a row with religion--personal faith and its moral, social, and cultural consequences--at the very heart, but all three very different. This one is a very plot-driven, Jodi Picoult-like family drama. Each chapter is divided into two parts: the first narrated by the mother; the second focusing (in third person) on the son. The son is a seeker who has long experimented with various religions in his search for truth and comfort after the death of a friend. At the beginning of the s ...more
Donna Jo Atwood
Feb 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
As I read this book, I kept checking the cover--thinking it might have been written by Jodi Picoult. The book explored the family dynamics of a young man who has been searching most of his life to find a spiritual home. In college he meets a girl who leads him to vegetarianism and a "no doctor" policy. When he brings her home with him, they try the no medicine part out on his little sister who is highly allergic to peanuts.
As I read this book, I kept checking the cover--thinking it might have be
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a very quick read, quite compelling. I read it in a day and a half, and spend the next day or so thinking about the characters. My mom and I read it aloud, together... Since her shoulder replacement she has had difficulty finding a comfortable position for reading. It's been kind of fun... taking me back to my childhood when we would read together all the time.

In terms of the story... I would have liked to have had more of the searching for faith explicated in the narrative. That said,
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
I'm loving this book! I stayed up until 2am reading it last night.

This book traces a family of four (mom, dad, college age son and 12 year old daughter) during a very tragic time in their lives. It is not about faith in the traditional sense but really about life.

The author goes back and forth between a first person pov of the mom in the story, and a third person perspective from the pov of the son. Quite interesting and completely believable, this book shows what trauma can do to an already st
Sep 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What might happen if you raise your child to just try out different faiths to find your own (note I say MIGHT)...Dad is dead set against religion having had legalistic parents who turned him against God and Mom is well "flightly". Son meets a girl (he thinks she is holy and wonderful and of course he is in love) and follows her faith...but she is in a cult. Girl decides little sister isn't really allergic to peanuts and can handle a "taste". Little sister goes into a coma...and the story begins. ...more
Nov 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
At times exasperating, others captivating, Matters of Faith explores the theme of faith on various levels, from that of religious certainty, to the belief in someone's ability to recover from an unfathomable experience. Dealing with the topics of death and how that can affect our religious perceptions; the exploration of one's own spiritual path; redemption, forgiveness and reconciliation, Kristy Kiernan introduces us to the Tobias family and quietly explores their unraveling over the course of ...more
Aug 02, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pamela Pickering
Aug 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: AnneJ, Mellissa
What is faith to you and how much power should you give it? If you're a fan of Jodi Picoult this would probably be a good choice for you. Again, uncomfortable subject matter that leads to a difficult situation to be in (i.e. "what would I do or how would I feel if this were me" type of cunundrum.) Although the characters are not as well developed as Picoult's the story was still riveting. I only gave it 4 stars as the father's perceptions/feelings were not given, we only see the story through th ...more
Nov 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
My sister lent me this book, and I really, really enjoyed it. Dealing with the way that different people choose to believe; religiously, ethically, morally, etc and how those beliefs do or don't effect your interactions with others was such an interesting topic. Then basing that on the premise that the effects of those interactions can be so far-reaching and far more devastating than that casual annoyance of having someone quote the Bible to you in disdain for your current choices was refreshing ...more
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
4.5+ stars for sure. This was an awesome book. I've always thought it would be interesting to write about what happens in a family if one child seriously injures (or even kills) another child, but with no ill intent involved. However, I think it takes a very brave person to write such a story and Kristy Kiernan is apparently brave. I was sucked in from the beginning, and completely understood both parents' points of view, even if they were differing and sometimes irritating. I also liked the exp ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was about 4 main characters, mom, dad, college aged son, 12 year old daughter. I loved the way Kristy Kieran described her characters. I had definitely learned how to describe my characters. I loved the plot of the story. I just could not stop reading the book. The book also dealt with way different people choose to believe, whether it’s religiously or morally. It also makes us understand the importance of love, friendship and trust. This book is also very Jodi Picoult. Everyone is mak ...more
Feb 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
Good story, as a child Marshall witnesses his friend get hit and killed by a train, and never recovers from the trauma. He is affected by how his parents spend so much time and attention on his little sister who has SEVERE food allergies. Marshall comes home from college with a girlfriend who is a vegetarian and chooses alternative ways of medicine, etc. Together they "try" giving little sister Meghan, just a little bit of peanut butter cookie, which sends her into a deep coma. They are arrested ...more
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Kristy Kiernan was born in Tennessee and raised on the beaches of southwest Florida.

She is the author of CATCHING GENIUS, published in 2007 and an Ingram Book Club selection.

MATTERS OF FAITH was published in 2008 and was chosen as an IndieNext Notable Title and won the Florida Book Award bronze medal.

BETWEEN FRIENDS was published in 2010 and was a featured selection for the Literary Guild, Double
More about Kristy Kiernan...