In true Hoffman style, Faithful introduces the reader to Shelby and the aftermath of a devastating accident. Shelby cannot forgive herself as she wallows in her basement for two years while her friend Helene wastes away in a coma. Shelby befriends a loner that sells her pot, as she hates the world from a distance. With nothing else to do, Shelby moves to New York City but cannot shake her self-hatred. As Shelby navigates rejoining humanity, she moves from loneliness to hurt to love and back. She latches on to dogs and Chinese food and at the same time, watches her parents’ relationship evolve and her best friend test the waters of love and parenting.
Shelby is a character the reader will instantly love, even when she is wallowing in paralysis. Shelby teaches the reader how to survive tragedy, heartbreak, love, and risk as she moves through rejoining life as we know it. Hoffman writes with clarity, detail, and realism that draws the reader in, snags the reader’s heart and does not let go until the end. Somehow even though the reader will want more of Shelby, they will be satisfied with how the book ends because the reader will walk away with an appreciation of life, with all its triumph and tragedy.
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