Review: Faith by Jennifer Haigh

Please read this book. 

It is wonderful and truly a heartbreaking read. What I loved most was the very different perspective taken, as it was a perspective/outlook not usually taken on this topic.   

I’m also very shocked it did not receive “bigger play” or that it wasn’t mentioned on so many Top 2011 Lists…had I read this in 2011 it would have surely gone to the top of my list. It certainly is the best book I’ve read yet this year.

Your heart will break a great number of times. It will break wide open for Father Arthur Breen. Over and over again.

Unfortunately, Arthur Breen chose a profession now considered to be filled with shame and disgust. He followed his life-long love and became a priest, albeit at the wrong time, in the wrong place.

“Art is guilty, automatically, just because he’s a priest?”

“The Boston Archdiocese has secretly settled sexual molestation cases involving at least seventy priests.”

I simply loved the perspective, or the “side” taken in this book. And the person telling this story is simply wonderful. Sheila is Fr. Breen’s younger sister. His fiercely defensive sister. She is a wonderful story teller, taking her time and letting the story unfold quietly and tenderly. She has profound love and respect for her brother, the priest.

“You are my brother Art. Whatever you did or didn’t do, I will always love you. All that I might have said and didn’t.

Thrown in to the same lot and painted with the same brush, Fr. Breen finds himself in the centre of the scandal(s) surrounding the Catholic Church and its priests. Is he innocent? Is he guilty? Did he do those shameful things to that young boy? Sheila brings us through the scandal, back to his childhood, to the story of his family, and to the punishment he must endure.

“Meeting a woman, meeting a man. God forbid, meeting a child. I’m a priest, my dear. In the current climate, any human interaction is suspect.” (Fr. Fluery)

I also loved the insiders view of life in the seminary, the hierarchy and type of priests. Art Breen brings this to life in such a wonderful way. I loved it. 4.5 stars. It is definitely a book I will recommend over and over again.

Although, fair warning….if you have an Irish Catholic mother it may cause you to twitch in some places. :-)

You may also wish to read: The Bishop’s Man, by Linden MacIntyre (it’s another wonderful, great story with again, a different perspective to this topic. Was also a very worth Giller Winner!)

You can watch the Book Trailer for Faith here

You can visit Jennifer Haigh’s website here

Faith is now released in paperback, so if you are the type that waits for the paperback, go get it now! Available from HarperCollins Canada