The Bottom Line: "You completely stole my heart And now you won't let go I never even had a chance you know You had me from "Hello" ~ Kenny Chesney
As with most of his previous books, Nicholas Sparks delves into the romantic side of humans as we are introduced to new neighbors Gabby Holland and Travis Parker. From the first words spoken between these two you just know they are going to get married and live happily ever after, despite their fiery introduction.
Travis is the town vet although youd never know it to look at him. He appears every bit the playboy about Beaufort with his parasailing and motorcycling. Well, for goodness sake, he doesnt even seem to hold an ordinary job and he never goes to work on Fridays. Even when he does work, he saunters off in blue jeans and tee shirts. Not the proper attire, Gabby thinks, for a successful man. And she knows all about successful men.
Gabby comes from a proper Southern family. Mother and her sisters dine at he country club with their pinkies held just so. Gabby is kinda, sorta, engaged to a proper business man who wears proper business suits to the office and plays golf for relaxation. He doesnt zip around town in a jeep or on a motorcycle or jet ski or parasail or skateboard. In fact, hes just sort of vanilla. She keeps waiting for him to ask the big question but he keeps putting it off.
And although Gabby comes from social upbringing, it doesnt really set all that well with her. In fact, she stepped outside the mold a little, much to her mothers dismay, and actually attended medical school. She intended to go on to become a doctor but got sidetracked and, for now, she is holding her own in a doctors office as a physicians assistant. So in order to get closer to her long time boyfriend, Kevin, she buys a home in Beaufort and tops her independence off with the purchase of a pure bred collie.
Its that collie that leads her through the hedges, red hair flying and temper hitting the roof, to meet her neighbor, Travis. She doesnt know hes the town vet; all she knows is he has a boxer named Moby that roams the streets unattended and she thinks good ol Moby impregnated her precious collie.
And as the song says you had me from hello
Eleven years later we find Travis at a crucial point in his life and marriage with Gabby. And that leads to the second half of the book and the story which if you want any information about youll just have to get your own copy.
The spark of Nicholas Spark He hasnt been around that long but has already produced over a dozen best sellers, three of which have already been made into movies. His writing style isnt crisp and sharp but rather slow and comfortable. It is more like you are sitting at a table somewhere, sharing a mint julep and he is telling you a family secret. For the most part, Sparks books have generally dealt with circumstances that surround his own family history.
He has written about his grandparents, parents, siblings and extended family in such a way that you almost feel like you could walk up to them and say Howdy if you were in the area. I find his writing a very easy read with complete character portrayal. His stories always have a beginning, middle and end. You arent wafting about wondering how a situation turns out because he always delivers.
That said, the very fact that his writing follows the same pattern and style could become boring to some. In addition I find it interesting that his male characters are always the wanting figure, pursing the maiden, instead of the heartsick lovelorn miss, pining away for her hero. Sort of a Harlequin in reverse, if you will. Not that his male figures are effete but quite the reverse. In this book, Travis is a strong, virile man about town. He is relatively well-to-do, social, attractive, even hedonistic at times. He also carries a strong family sense and good interaction with his male peers, who are all married with children by this time.
While most of us, truth be told, are looking for that someone special to take us away from it all, in reality these situations generally only occur in books or movies. For that, I find it interesting that Sparks always chooses the male to be the love sick puppy. After reading his biographical novel Three Weeks With My Brother, I better understood his choice for this type of man in his novels.
However, as with most of the love story type of books available, and Sparks is no different in this vein, there is generally tragedy of some type involved. I do like the strength Sparks gives his characters when they are faced with the tragedy at hand and how he resolves the story.
Overall impression Generally, The Choice isnt all that different than all the other Sparks novels he has produced. It is, however, a nice read with steady pacing and identification with the characters involved. It does cover several choices made by individuals in situations that people face daily and helps you reach a conclusion about those choices and a better understanding of the resolution. It is one of his typical love stories with life and death decisions and keeps you involved from the beginning.
Grand Central Publishing; 288 pages; ISBN-10: 0446579920
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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Resisting romantic commitments while enjoying a life of boating, swimming, and barbecues, Travis Parker is unable to deny his attraction to new next-door neighbor Gabby Holland, a defensive woman whose long-time boyfriend further challenges Travis's growing feelings. By the author of <IT>The Notebook<RO>. Reprint.