Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Jodi Picoult Can Keep My $13.95

I recently read...no....devoured Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult. First let me say that I have read five or six of Ms. Picoult's books and enjoyed every single one of them. I was not disappointed with this latest read. Ms. Picoult's books offer a little bit of everything, which is why their appeal is so expansive. There is romance, without any mention of loins, heaving bosoms or laving. There is mystery, without the requisite tough as nails on the outside, but surprsingly sensual and vulnerable on the inside female lead detective, who is stunningly beautiful but emotionally distant. There is drama without melodrama, and exploration of the human condition without a lot of maudlin introspection and/or false pathos.

This, again, is not "great literature", but it is engaging, compelling and well-written. I would characterize this as light reading, but don't mistake it for fluff. When I say light reading, I mean that it is the kind of book in which you can become so fully immersed that you fail to hear the screams of your children, the wailing of a siren, and the crackling of flames. Don't ask me how I know. Its the kind of book one has to read twice, because the first time through, one reads so fast and feverishly; concerned only with fate of the characters within, that one fails to absorb certain details.

This subject of this book is one of my pet issues...theology, and in particular, faith. It explores the difficult dichotomy that occurs when events challenge beliefs, and the only way to reconcile them are to rely on that which many of us find elusive, frightening and obscure...faith. If you an agnostic or atheist, don't let that turn you off. The main character is an atheist, so the theological elements are presented largely from her point of view. I think its an interesting juxtaposition of skepticism and needing/longing to believe. There are many relationships in this book, and Ms. Picoult expolores the complexities and difficulties encompassed within those relationships with an acuity and sensitivity that makes them utterly believable and wholly germane to anyone who has ever struggled to accept and understand someone they love.

Here is a summary from Publisher's Weekly:

Fans of Picoult's fluent and absorbing storytelling will welcome her new novel, which, like Harvesting the Heart, explores family dynamics and the intricacies of motherhood, and concludes, as did The Pact, with tense courtroom drama. In the small town of New Canaan, N.H., 33-year-old Mariah discovers that her husband, Colin, is having an affair. Years ago, his cheating drove Mariah to attempt suicide and Colin had her briefly committed to an institution. Now Mariah is facing divorce and again fighting depression, when her eight-year-old daughter, Faith, suddenly acquires an imaginary friend. Soon this friend is telling the girl how to bring her grandmother back from the dead and how to cure a baby dying of AIDS. As Faith manifests stigmata, doctors are astounded, and religious controversy ensues, in part because Faith insists that God is a woman. An alarmed Colin sues for custody of Faith, and the fear of losing her daughter dramatically changes meek, diffident Mariah into a strong, protective and brave womanAone who fights for her daughter, holds her own against doctors and lawyers and finds the confidence to pursue a surprising new romance with TV atheist Ian Fletcher, cynical "Spokesman of the Millennium Generation."

Amazon gives this 4.5 stars. I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile read and would argue vehemently in favor of that last half a star.

Read it and enjoy.

11 Comments:

  • At 7:10 AM, Anonymous Wendy said…

    I love Jodi Picoult - she never writes about the same subject twice and she writes from 'behind the subject' really knowing her stuff - her stuff is topical and interesting - have you read The Pact? One of her absolute best..

     
  • At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Flybunny said…

    Thanks for the review - I too love Jodi Picoult and was excited to see she had a new one out. I like that presents different sides to stories and she really challenges, me at least, to really think about the subject.

    I havn't read The Pact but was absolutely taken with My Sisters Keeper.

     
  • At 11:43 AM, Blogger MrsFortune said…

    Personally I see all of her books as the same. There's some court case, some lawyers who are afraid to get close, parents, religion. It's all very formulaic. I totally loved My Sister's Keeper and Plain Truth, but I think I'll pass on more of her books for now.

     
  • At 12:53 PM, Blogger sunshine scribe said…

    Thanks for the review. I'll check it out BA

     
  • At 1:26 PM, Blogger gingajoy said…

    I've been hunting for something to read--a page turner, but not utter fluff. Would you recommend this one as a starter on Picoult?

    Also, have you read any Barbara Vine? (a.k.a. Ruth Rendell. Under Vine she writes more psychological thrillers). I think you might enjoy her.

     
  • At 1:55 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Ginga: Definitely a good one to start with, but I don't think there's a bad one to start with, kwim? At least not among the one's I have read.

    Also, if you like thrillers, you can try Preston and Child. They're kind of gruesome, but deliciously so. My favorite is Cabinet of Curiosities.

    Some of my other favorite Brain Candy:

    The Other Boleyn Girl
    Peace Like A River (FABU)
    Year of Wonders
    The Red Tent
    The Crimson Petal and the White
    All Dan Brown Books
    (If you Didn't Like DaVinci code and Angels and Demons, try Deception Point and Digital Fortress. They are very different, but equally good.)
    Pillars of the Earth (FABU)
    Cane River
    The Time Travellers Wife

    Wendy: I have not read The Pact, but it is on my TBR list. It's difficult to get newer titles at our library, and my book budget for this month has been exceeded, lol.

    Sorry...I could talk about books all day long.

     
  • At 2:56 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    Mariah? Faith? Heavy on the theology references, isn't she?

    Interesting review. I'm currently reading The Pact and I've got two others by her standing by. I loved Her Sister's Keeper and that one about the woman with the search and rescue dog (can't remember the name) but, like Mrs. Fortune, I'm starting to grow weary of the court room dramas. However, these days any book that involves a mother potentially losing her daughter draws me in every time. I might pick this one up when I find a free minute between blogs.

     
  • At 4:30 PM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    Well if you'd all stop writing such great blog posts maybe I could start making a dent in that amazon order I got months ago! I'll add this to the list--sounds right up my alley. And God? I think she'd approve.

     
  • At 10:55 AM, Anonymous mothergoosemouse said…

    Hmmmm. I do not usually read fiction, but it does sound interesting (even to an atheist).

     
  • At 9:05 PM, Blogger My float said…

    I love Jodie Picoult...I've loved all her books. Happy reading!

     
  • At 2:32 PM, Blogger kim said…

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'm desperate for a good read. Theology is also one of my pet issues. I have a mini library of books on religion.

     

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