Book Review – Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Faithful by Alice Hoffman
Date published: November 1, 2016
Date finished: May 1, 2023
Grade: A+

I must admit that I picked this book up because it was short. I had just a bit of the month left, and I wanted something short to get me through to the end of April (side note: I missed that by one day!) What I thought would be a quick read ended up being a story that struck me to my core and would stay with me long after I finished the book.

We meet Shelby when she is in the depths of clinical depression and PTSD after surviving a tragic accident that left her best friend essentially brain-dead. After starting something more than a business relationship with her pot dealer, she leaves her hometown with him to start a new life in the Big Apple. Here, she finds a community in the most unexpected places.

My first impression of this book is that Hoffman flawlessly captured Shelby’s state of mind. While Shelby is at her low point at the beginning of the book, it is clear that depression is the background music to her life–sometimes muted and sometimes dramatic. Shelby truly believes she lacks any value in life, and it takes her found family to teach her the depth of her worth.

I have never had a bad experience with Alice Hoffman’s work. Her prose is hypnotic and comforting. While many of her books have a healthy dose of magical realism, that element is muted here. I can’t complain about that–I don’t think this story would work as well if there were an element of the fantastical.

Upon finishing this book, I got down to the business of recommending it to some of my closest reading friends. Shelby and her story will impact anyone and make any reader a better person for experiencing it.

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