Wednesday, May 16, 2012

(68)Faith by Jennifer Haigh


Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Pages: 336

It is the Spring of 2002 and the Catholic church in Boston is in an upheaval of epic proportions.  Priests are being accused of horrible, despicable acts.  Even though Sheila McGann's older brother, Art, is a priest, Sheila has left the church long ago.   She remains close with her brother and they just agree to disagree when it comes to natters of religion.

One Spring day, Father Art's world is turned completely upside down when he is released from his duties and told that he is being accused of inappropriate behavior with a young boy. They do not tell Art who is making the accusations, but he has a pretty good guess.   In a state of utter disbelief Art moves into a stark, barren apartment while he waits to hear what happens next.  Sheila rushes to his side determined to prove Art's innocence. She does not expect to encounter Art's passive attitude about the whole situation.  Her mother's denial, yes.  And even their brother Mike's belief that Art did it, is not that much of a shock to Sheila.  But Art's total lack of willingness to fight is completely shocking.  So Sheila decides that she is going to fight for him.  And while she searches for the truth she discovers a lot about Art that she never new.  But does the past dictate the future?  Did Art really do that of which he is accused?

I have to tread lightly with my words here, because there are a lot of secrets packed in this one little book and I do not want to give any of them away.  In someways Art is the victim of a childhood where he was an outsider in many ways.  In other ways the events of Spring 2002 were of his own making.  He befriended the wrong people, made the wrong decisions and it put his livelihood at risk. But wait.  Don't jump to conclusions.  The end of the book has a twist so shocking that it will change everything you (and Sheila) thought about Art.

I really enjoyed Faith.  I think it took a lot of guts for an author to take on such a scandalous topic such as the abuse case within the Catholic church.  And I think she did so in an unexpected way, with the way the book ended (trying to be careful with my words!).   The book is very well written and leaves me feeling sad.  Sadness for Art, sadness for Sheila, sadness for young Aiden, sadness for his mother, and even sadness for all of the people of the Catholic church who felt a whole lot of disappointment as the scandal exploded.  Bottom line, very good book with lots of talking points for you and your book clubs.


Sam (Tiny Library) said...

This sounds great! I've just checked and my library has a copy, so I'll hopefully read it very soon :)

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