Faye is a complex character whose motivations are often unclear. She maintains the appearance of being submissive to her husband because she is motivated by religious ideology. However, Faye also finds ways to sneak behind her husband's back and help her children. She repeatedly helps Tara on her path to getting an education, and sometimes makes peace between Tara and Shawn. When Faye first learns that Tara and Audrey have been abused, she seems to side with her daughters. She shows a new side to her character because she apologizes and admits that she should have protected them. However, Faye later doubles back and reverts to her earlier submissive character. She is not brave enough to actually stand up to Gene and Shawn. She would rather have a peaceful home, and is too scared to assert her independence.
Faye's career path also shows shifts in her character. When she first begins to work as a midwife, she is very timid and hesitant. As she realizes that she is a very skilled midwife, her confidence grows, and she also starts to become more assertive with her husband. However, Faye suffers a head injury in a car accident. She stops assisting at births and moves instead to creating herbal remedies. When Faye becomes more involved in herbalism, her character shifts and becomes more mystical and less scientific and logical. At the start of the memoir, when she was working as a midwife, she took quite a scientific and rational approach to her work. After her injury, she relies on more intuitive and less rational approaches to healing. Faye does seem to have some genuine skills: she is able to provide care in situations that should be far beyond her skillset, such as when Gene is covered in burns. Faye is always able to remain calm in a crisis.