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Miracle Girl Hardcover – August 25, 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Written with a simplicity that mirrors the development of the plot, this well-crafted second novel demonstrates Scribner's (The Good Life) solid, noirish accessibility and talent for detailed characterizations. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Quinn, known to friends and co-workers by his last name, is in his mid-30s and working as a real estate salesman for the Catholic Church in upstate Hudson City, N.Y., as the city lurches out of decades of stasis. A live-in romance with the increasingly distant Rita competes with a variety of business deals that threaten to leave him in a professional and personal quagmire. When the mysterious Sue Phong, the titular miracle girl, gains media attention for an assortment of healing phenomena for which she may or may not be responsible, the Church is pressured either to label the incidents as works of God or to dismiss them as an elaborate sham. The city is in an uproar, and Quinn unexpectedly finds himself having to take a stand. As he gets closer to Sue and to an understanding of what makes her tick, he is forced to question the genuineness of his own life and abandons caution to find the answers before he, along with everyone else desperate to be touched by the "miracle" girl, loses something irreplaceable. While telling details sum up characters swiftly and decisively, some of the dialogue (particularly among minor characters) shades into boilerplate. This contemplative foray into the beliefs and decisions that shape the lives of individuals and communities is funny, gritty and tender, but Scribner doesn't quite fit all of Quinn's feelings into his words and actions.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

When an apparent miracle rocks economically depressed Hudson City, NewYork, John Quinn--whose work for the Roman Catholic diocese has shifted from the space management he loves to property sales--is initially involved just in finding space for the pilgrims pouring into town. They come to see the miracle girl, 30-year-old Sue Phong, the deaf orphaned daughter of a Vietnamese woman and African American soldier, who appeared in the dream of a deaf man whose hearing was suddenly restored. As reports of cures increase, Quinn's life comes crashing down around him: he's betrayed both by his real estate broker buddy (who's reporting Quinn to the IRS) and by the woman he loves (who's carrying on an e-mail relationship with another man). Finally, Quinn's own capacity for betrayal is tested by the miracle girl herself. Scribner has created wonderfully human characters with whom he explores the issues of faith, trust, and possibility with exceptional skill and sensitivity. A departure from his debut novel, The GoodLife (1999), this should be just as warmly received. Michele Leber
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (August 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157322250X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573222501
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,775,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on August 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps the only subject less discussed than class in American society is faith, and Scribner takes it on here from all angles. Is Sue Phong, a deaf Vietnamese woman, really channeling the Virgin Mary to produce miracles in decrepit Hudson City, NY? Or is it a publicity stunt? If a stunt, whose? Hers? The Catholic archdiocese? (Attendance at mass is way down.) The Chamber of Commerce? (Those pilgrims gotta eat. And book hotel rooms.)
These cynical questions ricochet inside the mind of our hero, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Quinn, a thirty-something born on the day of the assassination (a fatal blow to faith itself) and currently employed as a real estate agent for the archdiocese. Quinn, as he's known, is embroiled in an early onset midlife crisis. He can't really figure out how he wound up where he is - or where he stands with his longtime live-in girlfriend, Rita. Does his problem truly reside - as Rita alleges - in the fact that he doesn't believe in anything?
The first page of this novel is perhaps the tautest piece of writing you'll read this year. The rest of it is by turns titillating (Scribner writes terrific sex), thought-provoking and hilarious.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The opening chapters held promise, but as the story went along I became particularly disappointed with the characters. The way that they interacted, the way that they developed, the way that the plot moved around them - it all left me cold. I expected a certain amount of "negativity" within the story, because it seemed appropriate. But the ending seemed to be not only negative, but also seemed to be not much of an ending. At least, it wasn't much of an ending for me. I was left feeling that nothing was really resolved.
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