Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review of The Choice by Robert Whitlow

The Choice
by Robert Whitlow
Published by Thomas Nelson
Reviewed by Clint Walker

The year is 1974, and the setting is a small town in rural Georgia. It is fall. Football is starting, and the cheer team has begun to prepare for the season as well. Sandy Lincoln is a senior in high school, and a brilliant student from a good family. As the book begins Sandy is with her mother in the doctor's office. It turns out she is pregnant, and her boyfriend Brad Donnelly is the father.

Since it is 1974, all options have been placed at Sandy's disposal in dealing with the pregnancy. She can stay home. She can go away to her aunt in the big city and finish school at a place designed for pregnant girls. She can give up the child for adoption, or abort her unborn child. Or, Sandy can choose to keep the baby and raise it the best way she knows how.

The story revolves around this choice to keep a child, to abort it, or to put it up for adoption. The narrative keeps gaining momentum because for every one decision that is made, several others come into play. How will the boyfriend's response and his family's wishes play into the decision? What about the difference between the father's ethics and the mother's concerns? How will this all effect the future of this promising young lady?

The story is both moving and fast paced. The author does a splendid job of contrasting the "little girl" still present in Sandy's personality with her very adult situation and decisions. People in the story do not always act the way you would expect, which adds a little bit of drama to the whole story. The whole novel challenges the reader to ask themselves how they would respond given the situation Sandy Lincoln faced, and in the time and place that she faced it.

There were a few things I struggled with in the book. I thought the whole "bad boy" from the city/"good girl" from the small town was overly stereotypical. It reminded me of the movie Footloose. As a pastor, I was disappointed that the author chose to identify a pastor that was pro-choice in the beginning of the book. I never like it when a pastor seems to be a villain.

Having said that, I think this would be a good book for many to read. It might be especially helpful for mothers and teens to read before a situation like this arises, so that a family can have dialogue about pre-marital sex and teen pregnancy is a more natural and less confrontational way.

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