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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Keeping Faith: A Novel

1. Much is said in the story about Mariah not being a good mother. Do you think this criticism is valid? Does Faith think Mariah is a good mother? Is motherhood truly a "work in progress," as Millie describes it?

2. Mariah describes her marriage as perfect, yet moments after she and Faith discover Colin with another woman, Mariah says, "Oh God, it is happening again." Are there other indications in the story that Mariah refuses to see the truth that is right in front of her?

3. Do you think there is a psychological basis for the appearance of Faith's "Guard?" Why do you think Faith was "chosen?"

4. At what moment does Mariah begin to believe in Faith? How about Millie? Ian? Dr. Keller? Who must take the greatest leap of faith?

5. Mariah says, "You can't be a mother, can you, if your child is taken away." As you read, who did you want to win custody of Faith?

6. There are two mother-daughter sets in this book: Faith and Mariah, and Mariah and Millie. Discuss Millie. What are some of the good things Mariah learned from her? Some of the bad things? In the beginning of the story they seem to be very different people. Is this true at the end?

7. Kenzie says: "The issue in this custody hearing is where the best home is for Faith. That doesn't leave a lot of room for God." Do you agree?

8. Do you think the Catholic Church had the right to examine Faith, a Jewish girl? Why is religion so difficult for some people to discuss? Would this story be different if it took place in the South or any other part of the country?

9. Toward the end of the story, Mariah is tugged across the yard by an exuberant Faith, "following in her daughter's footsteps." Whom did you learn the most from in the story? Who is the main character of the book: Mariah? Faith? God?

Keeping Faith: A Novel
by Jodi Picoult

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2000
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0688177743
  • ISBN-13: 9780688177744