Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Review: "Faith" by Jennifer Haigh

While Jennifer Haigh's spectacular new novel takes on the child molestation scandal that rocked the Catholic archdiocese in Boston in 2002, at its heart, this is a book about the ties of family, hidden secrets and, of course, faith.

When Father Art Breen is accused of molesting a young boy, his devoutly Catholic mother is devastated but believes Art is innocent, his brother, a former cop (and father of three), instantaneously convicts him, and his sister, Sheila (who narrates the book), struggles with what to believe. As Sheila works to uncover the truth, she finds Art unwilling to defend himself or answer her questions, and she finds many other questions of her own. She also discovers that this accusation has ripples far beyond Art's losing his job and being maligned for the possibility of committing such a terrible act.

This is a fantastically written, thought-provoking book. Yes, the accusation of child molestation is troubling, but it is nearly secondary to the issues it brings to the forefront in this book. Faith is a complex story of family relationships. It is a suspenseful book at times; at times it can be frustrating, because you can see how certain characters' behaviors are behind different circumstances, but ultimately, it is really powerful and emotional. Don't be put off by the subject matter—this is definitely a book worth reading.

1 comment:

  1. This is a moderately interesting book, apparently timed to take advantage of the priest scandals in the Catholic Church. It's true that innocent people can get caught up in a scandal, and the author focuses on that, but lets us down at the end. I can't say more without revealing plot turns. Catholics may find this book hard to take.