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10.01.2012

Book Review - 'The Choice' by Robert Whitlow

A teen in the 1970s, Sandy finds herself pregnant and unsure what to do. Her choice leads to a lifetime of wondering about the circumstances surrounding her decision. 30 years later, an encounter with one of her high school students, who is pregnant and alone, brings Sandy full circle. The Choice by Robert Whitlow takes the reader through Sandy's journey. I won't get into any more detail, only because I really don't want to bias a reader or give away the story. I'll focus the rest of this review on the writing and execution of the plot.

What I liked:
I liked that the author, Robert Whitlow, chose to tackle a tough subject. The concept of pro-choice and pro-life is a hot button issue and it's a brave author that goes there. I also greatly appreciate that the author is a lawyer. I've read many of his book and enjoyed the legal aspect knowing that he's an expert. The story had me engaged and staying up at night to finish so I could see how it ended. It won't be a spoiler for me to say that the character Sandy didn't marry or have children after her decision as a teen and I liked that this added an element to the story. Young people don't always think about how their decisions as teens could alter the course of life. I liked that there was some mystery, danger, and adventure incorporated into the book. That kept me very engaged and I think that's one of Whitlow's strong points when it comes to plot. Speculative fiction fans will enjoy a supernatural element in several incidents with an old woman, who leads the reader to have to decide if she's real or imagined.

What I didn't like:
I had more trouble getting into the dialogue on this one than I ever have had in Whitlow's other books. I think it's because he tackled a female's story and then tried to "talk" like a woman. I felt the dialogue was much more stilted and the description flat compared to his other writing that I loved. There was also one sort of coincidental thing that really affected the plot of the book. I know, God does big things. But once in a while a plot goes a little too far with those incidents and it's almost not believable. One over the top coincidence is believable. Two, maybe. But several more than that with details that have to fall into place? Well, you'll have a difficult time reaching the reader who is a skeptic.

Conclusions

All in all, I liked the book. However, I didn't find it outstanding like I did Whitlow's other books. I felt like the characters fell into stereotypes and that made some things predictable. I think that left the story a little lacking in dimension too. The author isn't subtle about the pro-choice pro-life issue and some readers may see the book as having an agenda. Others will love it. At least it makes people think more than the average fiction book. There is a short section of group discussion questions at the end that gives readers a chance to think about the content.

I received a free Kindle copy of this book for review purposes from the Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze review program. I was not compensated for my objective review.

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