Sunday, 6 November 2016

Review: Faithful by Alice Hoffman

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Simon & Schuster 
Genre: Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

I don't even know how to begin talking about this book. I finished it over twenty four hours ago and I still can't get it out of my mind. That usually means that I either loved it or hated it. With Faithful it was a definite love. I devoured the book and read the entire thing in a couple of short hours. It was a little dark and haunting, sad and emotional, hopeful and positive, stunning and absolutely beautiful all at the same time. My emotions were all over the map. I laughed at inappropriate times and cried at moments that caught me off guard. My tears came at times that weren't at all typical for me when reading a book.

This story followed Shelby as she tried to find her way after an accident took her best friend (as she knew her) yet left her relatively unharmed (on the outside anyway) to carry on. It showcased a young woman with an extreme amount of survivors guilt and pain and the self destructive path that followed. I was with Shelby every step of the way. I felt every one of her emotions and I was routing for her with every turn of the page. It was an emotional roller coaster that had me captivated with every dip, bend and turn. I felt Shelby's pain like no other fictional character I've read in a long time. A sign, in my opinion, of really great writing.

Readers are either going to love or hate this book I think. The content wasn't always easy to take, often it was dark and haunting. Shelby wasn't a typical girl that readers love to love. However, her flaws and mistakes are part of what I felt made this book as good as it was. It was realistic in showing the grief and pain that she carried with her after the accident. The events that happened to her were a product of that pain. If you look beyond all that, there was beauty to be found beyond all of that as she slowly learned how to have a functional and meaningful life again.

Faithful is one of those books that I feel the less you know the better going in so I will leave it at that. I will just say that I adored it and it will probably make my top five books of the year. It was not the first book by Alice Hoffman for me and it will not be the last.

About the Author
Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.  

Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay “Independence Day,” a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Weist. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel AQUAMARINE was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

Connect with Alice


1 comment:

  1. Great review! Haunting is such a perfect word for this book -- it was dark and beautiful! I agree with you re: Shelby and her grief and pain - it felt very real.

    my review