By Amanda Merriman
Connection writer Amanda Merriman admits she is hopelessly addicted to books. It has been this way nearly all her life. Every month she shares what she has been reading with the hope that others will share in the obsession too.
“People say if you face your worst fear the rest is easy, but those are people who are afraid of rattlesnakes or enclosed spaces, not of themselves and the horrible things they’ve done.” This quote is from my most recent read, “Faithful” by Alice Hoffman, which was originally published in the summer of 2016. Faithful is the story of two high school-aged best friends whose lives change course dramatically after a car accident. Shelby was driving and came away physically relatively unscathed. However, she is wracked with survivor’s guilt and struggles to move beyond the events of that fateful night. Helene, on the other hand, is comatose and is being kept in her parents’ home. Helene has become a bit of a spiritual tourist stop, as people who believe Helene has healing powers line up to visit.
I seem to have no problem picking out books that are emotionally wrenching, and “Faithful” was no exception. The story focuses mostly on Shelby and her fierce internal battle, leaving the reader wanting to know more about Helene and her parents. That being said though, I found myself immersed in Shelby’s journey with Hoffman’s writing to gently prod me along. I loved the development of the relationships between Shelby and the other characters in this book, as poignant as some of them were. This novel is about grief, learning to live again, and the power of friendship and love. After reading about Hoffman and discovering she is a breast cancer survivor, I can imagine some of her inspiration surrounding the theme of survival in this book came from her own experiences. If you are curious like I am, consider checking out her nonfiction book about her experience called “Survival Lessons.”
Fellow bibliophiles and book club members, feel free to join in the dialogue. Blog your thoughts and feedback at www.castlepinesconnection.com and enter the keyword “bibliophiliac” in the search bar. Have you read a great book recently? Email your find to me at email@example.com.