Book Review: The Choice by Nicholas Sparks...what will you choose?
Title: The Choice
Author: Nicolas Sparks
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What's it about?
Gabby is a P.A at the pediatric clinic of a small town. New to the area, she's excited for her new job (if not her new co-workers) and looking forward to moving things forward with her long time, serious boyfriend, an established insurance agent in the area.But, if the fact that Kevin, Gabby's boyfriend didn't seem as eager to talk about the future didn't complicate matters, Gabby's neighbor, Travis sure would.
Travis had lived in the area for most of his life and had built a pretty respectable life for himself, though with no woman by his side, not that Travis was troubled by this fact. He as patient and content to spend his free time on the water, cruising on is motorcycle or relaxing with his childhood friends and their families. So, when Gabby made her way through the bushes, into his yard, obviously angry about something before Travis's dog managed to knock her down and out, Travis wasn't discouraged. And, as Gabby released a big dose of verbal vomit all over his porch and him, the start of which stemming from her insistence that her dog was pregnant and that it was Travis's dog who had made it happen, Travis just listened. Well, listened and suggested that she not jump to conclusions and take her dog to see the local vet.
Things escalate further as Gabby realizes that, while her dog Molly was pregnant, it wasn't Travis's dog who had contributed to the less then desirable situation and, even more to Gabby's dismay, Travis didn't seem upset by her accusations...in fact, he seemed more amused by it all. And, when he even proves himself essential during Molly's birthing process, she finds herself wanting to strangle him! However, when he invites her to spend the next day with him and his friends parasailing on his boat, she finds herself accepting, setting the wheels in motion for a wild ride and a love triangle that leaves Travis sure that she is the one and only for him and Gabby questioning who her future is to be shared with, her boyfriend Kevin, or her neighbor Travis...
I really liked Stephanie and Travis. Stephanie was Travis's little sister. She's eager to learn, great at observing and reading people with a comfortably with calling it how she sees it in a fun, humorous, disarming way. She's strong and secure with her quirks and who she is as a whole. I wish we could have seen more of her.
I also really liked Travis. There was something about him that just drew me to him. He was caring and fun, dependable but spontaneous. He was responsible but made it a point to have fun as often as possible.He knew what he wanted and was ready to fight for it, but he wasn't one to settle if what he had wasn't up to the standards he dreamed of. He was loyal, honest (kind of like his sister) and loved in epic proportions.
Least favorite Character:
I know. I was supposed to like Gabby, but really, my favorite thing about her is her name. From the very beginning, I found her actions somewhat ulteristic, selfish and a means of placing the blame on anyone but her, even when she wasn't innocent. I expected her to grow on me as the story progressed and I got to know her more, but, instead, as I was starting to, she went and did something that was so hard for me to forgive, I was actually hoping that she chose Kevin (her boyfriend) over Travis.
The first time Travis and Gabby Meet was fun! It was amusing to watch Travis and how he just let Gabby vent because he saw that she needed to, while knowing that she was going to end up feeling really stupid about it later (and she did)! It also shed a lot of light on the characteristics of both Travis and Gabby.
The second Time Travis and Gabby Meet was similar to the first, in that it was fun, quirky, awkward and shed light on the two. While I predicted this interaction from early on, it was satisfying to see.
When Travis teaches Gabby how to drive a motorcycle was not a part I expected to love so much, and,honestly, I'm not even really sure why I liked it as much as I did, but there was something sweet, romantic and genital about it.
As Travis is reflecting on his past relationships compared to his relationship/feelings for Gabby, he says “If conversation was the lyrics, laughter was the music, making time spent together a melody that could be replayed over and over without getting stale.” and it just struck me with so much beauty. It was line I knew I wanted to remember. It's such a poetic way to phrase it and radiates so much love and passion.
In the second part, one question reappear over and over again as Travis faces some of the hardest decisions he'll ever have to make.“How far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?” At first I hated this question. I mean, love is priceless, it's invaluable so you go as far as you need to, but then I started asking it through Travis's mouth and realized that it's a far deeper question then it appears. It forces you to stop, if just for a beat, and consider how far is too far and how far is not enough, and how the answers change in virtually every situation you imagine.
More Thoughts and Reflections:
I think one of what makes Nicholas Spark's story so epic and beautiful is that they sink into you. Nothing's quit as simple as you want it to be. Life gets in the way, things happen and people grow apart. Storybook endings as we usually consider them are not a promised with Mr. Sparks, but they are a dream. This book was no exception. I mentioned before that I didn't always want Gabby and Travis to be together. I felt like he deserved better, like she was careless with Travis's heart. What I didn't mention, was that, in the same breath that I spoke those complaints with Gabby, I found myself wanting Travis to be happy and to find his happily ever after. I wanted him to get his girl and live his epic love story. And then, i asked myself, how could both be true? How could Gabby choose Kevin over Travis and build a future with him instead and still allow Travis to be with the love of his life? The answer was, it can't all happen. One side has to give. Maybe Travis would find another woman who made him happy, but I doubted he could...because none of them were Gabby and, so, no other woman could give Travis the epic love story I thought he deserved. Which meant, that no matter what, when I closed the book for the last time, I wasn't going to love the ending, and that was a little disappointing.
With that being said, I did enjoy the book. While I disliked one of the main characters, I was drawn back to my cozy reading spot every night to learn what happened next. And each night, I closed the book to embrace sleep with a feeling of internal conflict. What did I want more? Did I want Gabby to just go away and leave Travis alone, or did I want Travis to get his Princess? Then, when I got the answer, it was one that I could live with, while not perfect, it was right for everyone involved. So, I think I will be rushing back to re-read this book again and again, but I'll certainly not discourage romance (or Nicholas Sparks) fans from reading this for themselves, either.
What do I rate this book?
I give this book a
But, that's just what I thought, what did you think? Did you love this book? Hate it? Think Gabby was the best character ever written? Let us know in the comments!