Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chosen by Chandra Hoffman

4 Star

It all begins with a fantasy . . . 

A caseworker in her “paperwork-signing” suit alongside beaming parents cradling their adopted newborn: this is the blissful picture that keeps Chloe Pinter, director of Portland’s Chosen Child domestic adoption program, happy as she juggles the demands of her boss and the incessant needs of adoptive and biological parents.

But the dream job that offers Chloe refuge from her turbulent personal life soon becomes a nightmare involving three very different couples: the college sweethearts who, after suffering fertility problems, are now expecting their own baby; the wealthy husband and desperate wife for whom adoption is a last chance; and the couple who has nothing—except the baby everyone wants. But when a child goes missing, perceptions of family and future are challenged, posing the questions: What happens when you get what you thought you wanted? How far would you go if it wasn’t what you wanted after all?

Lydia - 4 Star

How far would you go to have a family? How far would you go to get everything you, or your loved ones ever wanted? What if you lost everything? Or were about to?  How far would you go to get it back? What if it what you thought you wanted actually isn’t what you want at all? Chosen is a novel bursting with questions and the majority of them lack simple black and white answers.  At times I found myself arguing against someone’s behaviour and then stopped to think about what I would do in their situation.  What if…

Chosen would make a great book club read because of all these questions.  There’s so much to talk about, so many shades of grey that filter through this novel, which is what Hoffman’s intention was per her author’s note and she was definitely successful. Who was right?  Who was wrong?  Who was the villain? The hero?  Did everyone gain?  Did everyone lose? Were they all just trying to do right by themselves and the ones they loved? This is definitely a social commentary surrounding a highly emotionally charged issue and it leaves much open for debate. 

Up until the surprising ending, this novel had unbearable tension. I knew something horrifying was coming, but I could never quite put my finger on exactly what it would be, or what the outcome would be and the lack of predictability was a pleasant surprise.

Unfortunately, I did feel something was missing and it left me wanting a bit more. The storyline was so engaging, but I found the characters lacking somewhat.  I didn’t love any of them, couldn’t really relate to any of them and at times felt too much distance. I suspect it might have been that the characters were too flawed for me and I didn’t agree with some of their choices enough to become completely attached to any of them. I wanted to love Paul, and at times I did, he had aspects that made me want to tear a strip off him and I’d love to share specifics, but really don’t want any spoilers.  This happens though in other books, but with those I’m able to accept character’s actions and thoughts I might not have agreed with or chosen myself, but here, in Chosen, for some reason they never translated.

My favourite aspect of Chosen was definitely its thought provoking plot. It also provided interesting insight into infertility and location adoption from three different perspectives:  the adoptive parents, biological parents and social worker.  If you’re looking for a novel that’s thought provoking, insightful and gives plenty to discuss, pick up Chosen today, but get ready for a bumpy ride!  

Thank you to CLP Blog Tours for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Chandra Hoffman:

1 comment:

  1. Good point about the book club selection! I will be sure to mention that to a few that I know :)



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