Jodi Picoult Books Reading Group. discussion

Books Under Discussion > Group Reading #1: Keeping Faith

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message 1: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:45PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments Feel free to make any comments or ask questions as you read. Enjoy. I'm looking forward to starting the book myself.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Hey Ash,
Bummer is I've already read it, but I could always reread it again! :)

message 3: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

Kimberly WHat is our time frame for reading this?

message 4: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments Good question Kimberly. I didn't think about that. I don't really want to put any time constraints on it because I know everyone has their own life(work, taking kids to school and game practices, family issues, etc) and for some it is hard to get the chance to read. But if you want a deadline, I can come up with a deadline that is reasonable and works for everyone?

message 5: by Joanie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

Joanie | 23 comments I've read it too but I might re-read it since it's been awhile.

message 6: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

Kimberly Reasonable time frame sounds perfect! Or not at all...I was worried I'd have to squeeze in a reading somehow!

message 7: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments How about the rest of this month and all of December for the time frame? Will this be enough time for everyone? If anyone is having trouble with making the deadline, then just forget about the deadline and read at your own pace. :) Hope this helps.

message 8: by Kathy McC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Kathy McC | 36 comments Sounds wonderful. As with all Picoult books, I"m sure once we start it, we won't be able to put it down. Thanks again for taking charge!

message 9: by Lauren (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Lauren | 27 comments i am on page 62 right now...anyone there yet? im loving it. im currently sick so i can read it while i lay in bed and drink soup.

message 10: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments I just began chapter 3. sorry a little slow with it :). I keep putting it down and picking it back up again to read.

message 11: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments How is everyone else doing with the reading? How far along are you in the book?

message 12: by Kathy McC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Kathy McC | 36 comments I'm about 100 pages into it. Characters are settling into my brain. Lauren hope you feel better soon.

message 13: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments I'm now on page 127. Characters are also settling into my brain.

message 14: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Kimberly Still waiting for Amazon...

message 15: by Lauren (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

Lauren | 27 comments I am now on page 150. I am really enjoying it. Should we have discussion topics/questions as we go?? Maybe everyone's feelings towards Ian?? Just a thought.

I am looking forward to reading this on my plane flight tomorrow!

I do feel better, thanks Kathy!

message 16: by EmJay (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

EmJay I'm loving this book! I'll finish Chapter 7 tonight. Ian intrigues me. I like that he's complex and contradictory, and I'm looking forward to learning how he became who he is today.

message 17: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Kimberly I really despised the first chapter or so of this book. I DID NOT like Mariah. I felt like I should keep reading, though, and I am glad I did. JPs characters are of imperfect people, but maybe that's what makes the stories good.
Even when I wasn't enjoying this, I still couldn't put it down.

message 18: by Lauren (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Lauren | 27 comments i love her characters. even when i hate them, i love how you get to know everyone involved. the different prospectives enhance her stories. im am on page 332. still making up my mind on how i feel about Ian. do i trust him?? i also like the GAD (a profession i have always wanted to learn more about)...reminds me of reading My Sister's Keeper.

message 19: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments Im on page 156. Chapter 8 is a long chapter. Faith is my favorite character so far. She is innocent and just trying to be a 7 year old and shes stuck in the middle of everything it seems.

message 20: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments I just started Part II and I'm really like Ian. His character is a great example of how some people where a mask in life to hide who they truly are as a person.

message 21: by Lauren (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Lauren | 27 comments I finished it tonight!! I'm starting 19 Minutes if anyone wants to join me!

message 22: by Kathy McC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Kathy McC | 36 comments I finished the book last night. It is my least favorite. I have read 19 Minutes and it is one of my favorite books. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Be prepared for some heart wrenching moments!

message 23: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments I'll be recieving Nineteen Minutes through the mail soon. I will join you then Lauren. I'm still reading the book, almost done with Chapter 10. Still got some ways to go.

message 24: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Kimberly Kathy-
Was Keeping Faith your least favorite or 19 Minutes? Did you read 10th Circle? Hate to jump back on that topic (the I-Hate-The-Tenth-Circle) topic, but just curious if you dislike KF more. So far, 10th is still my least favorite.
I am up to the court proceedings in KF. It's gotten a little bit dull for me...I even started skipping around. Shhhhh!

message 25: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:01PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments I am on page 270 right now. I like the book but I'm not loving it. This book is my least favorite.

message 26: by Kathy McC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:01PM) (new)

Kathy McC | 36 comments Keeping Faith. I have recommended 19 Minutes to every person I know. Because I am an educator, it came very close to home and provided much food for thought. I had problems with the court section as well. I thought things became a little predictable, which is so unlike her other books. I have not yet read 10th Circle.

message 27: by Carly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:01PM) (new)

Carly (carlyatkins) I agree with Kimberly's comment about not liking Mariah. The only other JP book I've read is My Sister's Keeper and I did not like the mother character in that book either. Mariah seems somewhat disconnected from reality. Her perception of her marriage and relationship with Colin were completely delusional. I am currently on page 123(chapter 7) and I still am not warming up to Mariah.

message 28: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:01PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments So far from reading My Sister's Keeper and reading Keeping Faith so far, it seems Jodi makes the mothers the hated characters and portrays them as bad mothers in a way. Do you think this is intentional?

message 29: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:02PM) (new)

Kimberly Hmmm...the mother in the 10th Circle was pretty loathsome, too....Interesting...

message 30: by Kathy McC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:03PM) (new)

Kathy McC | 36 comments The two mothers in Nineteen Minutes have their negative moments as well. In Vanishing Acts there is also some question about the mother's fitness to be a parent. Hadn't thought about this being a common thread in all of these books. It is an interesting observation.

message 31: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:03PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments Do you think maybe this is a personal portration of Jodi's own mother or do you think she just portrays the mothers as negative characters and doesn't realize it?

message 32: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:05PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) | 75 comments Well, I finally finished the book. I liked it but didn't love it. The ending confused me a bit.

message 33: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:06PM) (new)

Kimberly I finally finished. I couldn't really put it down. I can't say that I liked it though. Mariah was very flawed. A lot of details weren't explored enough. It was a very interesting topic, however.

message 34: by Kathy McC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Kathy McC | 36 comments I don't know. But it is an interesting premise. I really hadn't noticed the connection before now. Too bad we can't ask her.

message 35: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Kimberly It does say in an interview with her at the end of my book that she had an uneventful childhood in Long Island. Seems like she had a good relationship with her mother....

Ashley (bookworm84) (bookworm84) I'm reading this right now and I can't put it down. I think it's my favourite of Picoult's after My Sisters Keeper!

message 37: by Yaya (new)

Yaya (yayajanuary) | 20 comments I'm still in page 247. Well, from a moslem point of view this book is quite challenging to finish because there are so many things described here that so different from what my belief taught me (except the Big Bang theory)

message 38: by Stacy (new)

Stacy | 27 comments I agree. There were alot of different point of views in this book but i found it so intruiging. I loved that the mother was trying to do everything she could to protect her child from harm. This was another one of my favorites from Picoult.

message 39: by Stacy (new)

Stacy | 27 comments Oh! I can reread 19 minutes again!

message 40: by Bev (new)

Bev I just discovered this discussion on Keeping Faith! I've been a Jodi Picoult fan for several years now but just read Keeping Faith last spring, and I absolutely LOVED it. This book captivated me right from the beginning. I read it for several hours straight, and when I could no longer stay awake to continue, I found myself constantly thinking about it throughout the next day. I couldn't wait to get back to it!

All of the main characters were compelling, but I was especially drawn to Ian Fletcher, whose transformation from the beginning of the novel to the end unfurled so beautifully. At first, you could not help but hate this atheist preacher with his pomposity and narrow-mindedness. Ugh. But then you discover Ian's twin brother Michael, which reveals a completely different side of him and partly explains the distant person he has become. I think I fell in love with Ian just when Mariah did—when she and Faith saw him interact so sweetly with Michael. Afterwards, when Mariah shows him just a little care and concern, she cracks his brittle exterior, and we discover this loving soul underneath. I don’t think I will ever forget the scene of Ian visiting Michael early in the morning, when he receives that incredible gift. I am tearing up again just thinking about it!

Totally by accident, I happened to read Keeping Faith right before the release of Change of Heart, and I was delighted to discover that Ian Fletcher was 'resurrected' in that novel. To me, Change of Heart was worth reading just to learn about how Ian, Mariah and Faith were faring since I last left them. Although I liked Keeping faith better than Change of Heart, I found both books captivating. As is the case in all of Picoult's stories, her meticulous research and character development make the story quite compelling. (And in Change of Heart, it was so refreshing to see Maggie, who is bright and funny but also overweight and insecure, land a handsome, sensitive guy. Hooray!)

Was anyone else moved by Ian Fletcher? I'd love to hear some other comments about him.

message 41: by Sheryl (new)

Sheryl (shashee71) | 18 comments Bev...

I too, am a big Jodi Picoult fan... and have not found a book of hers that I have not totally embraced! Keeping Faith is no exception!!! What a great book... I just finished it today, and found it interesting and exciting from cover to cover. Other posters have said it was boring in spots... what spots??

The characters were easy to get to know... I loved Mariah and understood her flaws and anguish...she had been cheated on by the man she loves... multiple times for crying out loud! Alot of readers aren't giving her much of a break, I've noticed! I also loved Millie...what a firecracker she was!!

I absolutely loved Ian! I had a feeling from the get go that something wonderful would happen between he and Mariah! Oh, how I felt so sorry for him during the whole trial when things started to unfold. I started really liking Ian when he "snowed" the lady at the little cottage that they rented in Kansas City. He was so adorable... And you're right, when he had his morning visit with Michael and had a fun little "actual" conversation with him; that was so sweet. I almost wish, though, that Jodi would have let us readers know how Michael is! Is he coming around...or was that just temporary....

I had NO IDEA that these characters were in Change of Heart! I must find a copy!!

So the ending of Keeping Faith... Ughhhh, my mind is just wandering and wondering and going crazying with different scenarios! What did you gather from Faith's little bedroom scene?

I am glad I found this thread... I hope you check back w/ a post!!


message 42: by Bev (last edited Sep 27, 2008 08:19AM) (new)

Bev Hi, Sheryl,

I am delighted to find someone with whom I can discuss Keeping Faith! Hooray!

I liked Mariah, too. On the surface, it might seem like she is needy and weak, but she is STRONG...very strong. Her confidence has been shattered by her husband's appalling way of treating her depression, something that he himself has caused. She just needs a little affirmation and TLC, and when she gets it, from her mom but particularly from Ian, she absolutely soars! I also agree about Millie. Mariah must surely get her feistiness from her mom!

As for Michael, I think he remains the same as he was--there is no dramatic recovery after his exceptional connection with Ian. Those few moments, however, are enough to stir Ian out of his cynical view of life--he gains faith through Faith's small miracle. (I just love how the title has so many layers of meaning).

Here's something cool--I was so moved by this book that I wrote an email about it to Jodi and she answered the next morning! She takes the time to personally address every message that comes her way. After I explained what I liked about the book, I asked her this question:

I was wondering—did Ian’s character unfold for you as you wrote the story? In other words, did the course of his transformation take on a life of its own and present itself to you, like you’ve said happens in many of your books?

This was her response:

"Beverly, thanks for all the kind words - I love Ian; he's one of my favorites. I knew what he'd be like when I wrote him, but that moment with Michael was a surprise to me while I was writing! Ian reappears in my new book, Change of Heart."

I had just started reading Change of Heart when she wrote this, and I was so excited!

As for the ending, you can interpret it on many levels, and I think JP does that deliberately. This is what she said on her website about the ending of Keeping Faith:

"At the end of Keeping Faith, I wanted you to feel like Mariah and Millie and Ian and everyone else who comes into contact with Faith - like you've had to rethink what you believe. Whether you think she's a prophet or a messiah or a fake, she is ultimately a little girl who hasn't had her mom's attention before. And AT THAT MOMENT she does fake speaking to God, because she isn't willing to lose that attention. That said, I don't personally believe that Faith is faking all along…I think that God moves onto someone more needy in that last scene. But I did want you to remember that above all else, she's a kid - lest you fall into the same mistake that some of the media did during the course of the book."

I got the impression that Faith did not need the visions anymore and that they left for good, but she still needed her mom's love and attention, so she wanted to keep the visions alive.

Hope you don't mind the long response. Let me know when you finish Change of Heart--I'd love to chat about, among other things, what has happened with Faith, Ian and Mariah!


message 43: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (bubbly) | 8 comments The best book I have ever read. I absolutely love Ian Fletcher. You want to find a fangirl look no farther. His character is perfect to me: cynical, yet kind, a sweetheart, but such a dick. Everytime a character falls in love with another person, in most books, it's a happily ever after, but with Jodi's books, there's always a twist. Keeping Faith is pure magic. Mariah is also someone to talk about: her strength and weaknesses. I love putting myself in her position of a mom and, except for the amount of attention she gives Faith and the obsessing over her ex-husband (which, thankfully, dissapates), I agree with everything she does.

I love Ian, but the part when she slaps him: GOOD FOR HER! I'd do that to any hot man who comes between my baby (if I had one). Every part of this book was amazing. I want to read it right now if it weren't for the book I'm currently reading. Definetly a book to read more than once.

message 44: by Bev (new)

Bev Hi, Jessica,

I am thrilled to have someone who feels the same about Ian Fletcher as I do! Yes...what makes him so loveable are his very human flaws--he is certainly not perfect but once his barriers are broken down, he readily admits that is so. Once he shows his vulnerable side, it's all over. What a guy! I also agree about the slap--it was very much necessary...and I think it's what ultimately woke him up to "take the bull by the horns," as it were, and put forth his full effort into winning both Mariah and the case.

Did you read Change of Heart yet and read about what's happened to Ian since that time?

message 45: by nina (new)

nina (ladeeda) | 29 comments I just finished this book and LOVED it!

The ending confused me a little bit... Really shocking at first! But then when I thought about it, I don't think she'd been faking all along. I think this was the first time.
What really got me thinking was, what happened next? Did Faith continue pretending to speak to God?? Did everyone continue to believe her? I would really like to know what exactly happened to Faith afterwards.

I also LOVED the title of this book! So clever.

message 46: by Bev (last edited Nov 30, 2008 11:50AM) (new)


Hi, Christina,

It's nice to hear someone else praise this book with the same enthusiasm that I have for it! If you scroll up in this thread, you can read my long message about the end of the book and Jodi's own comments. I tend to think that you are correct--since Faith no longer had the need for the visions, she stopped having them.

If you want to find out more about Faith in the future, you have to read Change of Heart. Your questions are pretty much answered in there. For now, however, my lips are sealed! I like to discover these things for myself when I read, and I don't ever want to spoil it for someone else. Write again if and when you read CoH.

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