The compelling story of Audrey Santo, the comatose teen who is regarded by her family as a ""victim soul,"" is by now familiar to devotees of religious phenomena. Audrey, who survived a drowning accident in 1987 at the age of three and is kept alive by medical technology and loving round-the-clock care, continues to attract spiritual seekers while the Catholic Diocese of Worcester, Mass., conducts an investigation into the alleged miracles surrounding her. Felix, who has written biographies of New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, tells Audrey's story from an inquisitor's point of view, attempting to explain, for example, the nature of the stigmata, or sacred wounds, that Audrey supposedly suffers. She also investigates the notion of the ""victim soul"" and the weeping statues and bleeding communion hosts at the Santo home, by giving readers enough information to draw their own conclusions. Her research appears to be thorough, though the presentation is sometimes ponderous, offering too much detail about tangential topics like the monastery that Audrey's mother, Linda, visited as a girl. A second weakness of the book is the author's lack of access to Linda Santo, who has shielded herself from all but avowedly friendly reporters. Felix has compensated for this admirably by using multiple sources. As a result, her treatise, despite its deficiencies, provides a thoughtful look at the intersection of faith and mystery. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/2001 Release date: 04/01/2001 Genre: Religion
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