Tuesday, January 17, 2012

{read: priests and abuse} Faith by Jennifer Haigh

In Faith, Sheila McGann tells the story of her brother, Father Art, who is accused of sexually molesting a boy in the early 2000s in Boston, one of many priests whose abuse came to light during this time. Sheila and her brother, Mike, want to know if Art is guilty of this crime, but they don't get a definitive answer until it's too late.

This is a complex exploration of the Catholic priesthood and the many things that have gone wrong with it told through the story of an Irish Catholic family in working-class Boston. As a young priest, Art struggles with how to counsel young families when he has no experience in relationships or with raising children. How can he offer any advice worthwhile? He's also deeply lonely, isolated, and bullied by fellow priests. But when he finally makes a human connection, it ends up leading to his downfall. Is his fatal flaw the human need to connect with others?

While some of the plot is predictable, I enjoyed this novel and it had a few twists that I wasn't expecting.

Faith by Jennifer Haigh (Harper, 2011)
My rating: 3 stars

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