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Mini Book Review: Faithful

FaithfulFaithful by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Once I started, it took about seventy pages for me to decide I wanted to finish this book, but the writing was just engaging enough to get me through the dark, extremely depressing start. Readers should be warned that Shelby, the protagonist, is at rock bottom as the story begins, having gone through not only a car accident that left her best friend in a permanent coma, but also prolonged sexual assault at the hands of an orderly at a the mental hospital where she goes following a breakdown brought on by her extreme case of survivor’s guilt. As Shelby emerges from rock bottom, almost in spite of herself, the book, too, finds a lightness that makes it easier to get through. The story is full of those coincidences that only seem to happen in New York stories, and Shelby inspires both sympathy as well as frustration, as she makes her way through despite her low self-esteem and penchant for self-sabotage. What saves the book—and Shelby—are her relationships to the women in her life and to the animals she rescues along the way. This is a book for dog lovers, no doubt, and for those looking to understand the importance of forgiving yourself.

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