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Simon's Choice: How can a father ever let go?

1 rating: 4.0
A book by Charlotte Castle

"But Daddy, who will live with me in heaven?" Doctor Simon Bailey has everything a man could ever want. Then his beautiful daughter is diagnosed with Leukemia. He can almost accept her impending death. He can almost accept the fact that he will have … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Charlotte Castle
Publisher: CreateSpace
1 review about Simon's Choice: How can a father ever let...

Heartbreaking choice, told with a humorous and honest touch

  • Sep 20, 2010
Simon's Choice by Charlotte Castle is a wondrous ride through the comedy and terrible tragedy of family life and death. The dialog's spot-on, from careless remark, to kindly encouragement, to condemnation and despair. The background is picture-perfect England. The characters are entirely believable, and the agony all too real. It's a novel that will leave you crying at the end, and remembering forever. If you want to know how you would feel if a child were dying, if you want to know why "I'm sorry" is so inadequate, and "Life goes on" so like a dagger to the heart, or if you just want a marvelously powerful uplifting read, this is the book for you.

"I should have thought you would need an unswerving faith to think those bloody hens are going to lay," says Simon near the start. He's sharing a drink of whiskey with the pastor, just before the bad news arrives. But sometimes it's a swerving faith that shows where we need to go. Simon's Choice swerves expertly, painting pictures of a dying child seen through the eyes of her father as his almost-perfect marriage falls apart. The author balances painful present images with delightfully pleasant memories, creating a surprisingly complete and sensitive picture. The story's very real, right from its hopeful, careful, Sunday-morning, true-blue British start. And the thread of agony never winds too tight.

Bald daughter, bald chickens, contraband pizza and tears; there's boarding school and a regular English church in here, with vicar, wife and animals, and cub scouts; there's a God who isn't after all just the grand puppeteer, a Hindu wedding, and a spiritualist performing down at the pub; there's ritual, comfort, everyday life, and a world that comes crashing down. In the end, how much faith does it take, to encourage a child?

Simon's Choice lightens faith with memories and darkens it with depression. I found myself asking who I would be in this story. Would I offer help with one hand and keep my children away from Sarah (protecting them of course) with the other? Would I ask "How are you?" and hope to be told "I'm okay" so I wouldn't have to act? Would I choose who to blame and take sides while Simon's world fell apart? But it's Simon's choice that matters, and it's other people's actions, maybe God's as well, that steer his course.

I cried when I finished this book. It's not for the faint-hearted--too vitally real for that. It's not for readers who pale at the thought of alcohol and the odd swear word. But pain and love and healing and faith are real and vital and true. In the end the choice is perfectly made, the story perfectly concluded, and the meaning is deeply embedded in the reader's heart.

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