Monday, October 31, 2016

FAITHFUL BY ALICE HOFFMAN - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Faithful by Alice Hoffman. Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of this book for review. As always all opinions are my own.


Ok, so this review might be a little biased and get a little gushy because I absolutely ADORED this book. Like so much so I want to give it a higher than 5 star rating.

Before I start this review, I just want to say that this book, and possibly this review in reference to this book contain serious trigger warnings for self-harm, sexual assault and suicide. Proceed with caution.

Initially, this story starts out with Shelby, who is still reeling after the car accident that nearly killed her best friend, Helene. Or at least, it might as well have. She is in a coma, no brain activity. She'll never wake up. She'll never speak again.

Shelby is ridden with so much guilt for what happened. She was driving, it should have been her who is in the coma. She's a nobody, she wouldn't have been missed much. For years, she just stops living. Barely scrapes by high school graduation with a pity diploma, never goes to NYU like she and Helene planned, and turns down a dark road of self harm and depression. I won't get into specific plot points, because they are key in this story so I'll just leave it there.

This book literally gutted me. I haven't felt so much in a book for a very long time. Shelby is so guilt-ridden and depressed, you are so sad with her. As her life progresses, she changes as well. She meets people who help her, and some people who use her. Eventually she is able to get to a good place in her life.

The writing of this book is so lyrical. It's only just over 255 pages, but it feels like so much more happens. There are only fifteen chapters, although I would consider them more as parts of Shelby's life, they span the course of years, almost a decade if my math is right. With each section, you get to see Shelby grow and become a person again. She was only a shell of herself before. I don't know what it was about the writing itself, but it was so beautiful. Everything was wonderfully described, I don't think I've read a book that was as lyrical as this one. Truthfully, I didn't even know what that meant until I read this book.

Another thing that struck me about this book was the element of realism. Nothing about this story was far fetched, and I think that makes it even more terrifying. I could have been Helene, or even Shelby. Their path's could have been one of mine if something like that happened. After Shelby moves to New York, she meets people who are homeless, people who are working at a pet store to take care of their three kids alone. It showed that people aren't perfect, that life's not easy, but you can make it through.

With any book that deals with serious issues, especially those with mental illness, you have to have hope balancing the spectrum. Even in Shelby's darkest moments, she had Ben. And then her dogs, and then Maravelle, and then James. Even if she thought she was alone, there was always someone to help give her hope, that would need her.

Finally, I want to talk briefly about Helene and the fact that her parents have her hooked up to life support for almost a decade. I can see why they did it, obviously. They don't want to let their daughter go. And I get why she needed to be 'alive' in the book, Shelby wouldn't be able to get closure, she was tortured by the thought of Helene living, but not really living. While that wouldn't be my personal choice, I appreciate the insight it gave, especially in helping to explain Shelby's emotions.

Overall, this book was phenomenal, and it is a must read for all.