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2.0 out of 5 starsSloggy Writing Style, Uninteresting Characters
Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2018
I am rather mystified here by all the five star reviews. I know Sparks is a popular author and I have read a couple of his novels in the past and, as I recall, found them enjoyable. But this one fell flat for me. There was no attempt at a meet-cute or snappy dialog. Nothing interesting happened in the first half -- some internal angst, as in all romance novels, but the characters are rather bland and you know where it is going and don't really care. Some potentially interesting parts of the story (e.g. a difficult confrontation or dealing with a batch of puppies), are left out completely -- you know what happened, but you don't see it. On the other hand, details of long day of doing nothing with several friends and having many rambling conversations are stretched to the breaking point. None of the friends or secondary characters are ever fleshed out beyond being tall or Italian or plump, and, in fact, I never felt either of the main characters had much depth, nor did I particularly like either of them. I considered giving up several times, but soldiered on. It was an easy read, yet it took me longer to read than most books just because I was so ambivalent about picking it back up. Then, at about the 60% mark, there is a change of pace and the story gets interesting, even though told in loops and stops and starts, but again, the style was so bland it was hard to really care. Overall I just wanted it to end. (Someone else remarked that the constant use of past perfect tense was tiresome. I didn't notice this specifically -- I am only barely aware of what past perfect tense even is -- but perhaps this is what made for the sloggy feel of the prose.) I usually love seeing a movie after a book, but I think I'll skip it this time, even though the movie has GOT to be better.
A beautiful love story like this happens only to a few people in this world. Nicholas Sparks is a wonderful author of great books which have been made Into a lot of good movies - he makes you feel everything in your spirit and soul, which is rare in a author. He touches our souls with this movie, and several others like The Notebook. However, to me, this movie is better than the book. The actors selected for The Choice were perfect for their roles. Love them both. The town of Beauford, North Carolina is the perfect background setting and the scenes are awesome (sun setting on the lake, watching the moon and stars from his island). I've watched this movie three times and learn something different each time I watch it. Thanks for this beautiful movie. We need more like this one - especially in this day and age.
3.0 out of 5 starsWorth Reading… but far from his best work!!
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2016
That pretty much sums up this book… before I delve deeper into what inspired me and what didn’t and why I gave this book 3 stars, let me repeat that the book is worth reading although there is a lot of “filler” that I think could have been avoided had the author been more creative in telling a longer story. Toward the end, I found myself skimming a lot to get to the point… something I don’t like to do! *********** Warning – Plot Spoilers from here on ********* I pretty much read this book straight through, but I did find myself putting it down more often than I normally would because there were a lot of parts that seemed to be simply extraneous bits to fill out the novel. Quite honestly, those parts became boring; especially toward the end of the novel where we needed the story to move forward. That said, Nicholas Sparks is a great romantic writer… one of the best I’ve read and I found myself laughing, rooting for the protagonists, and more than a few times with a tear in my eye! At first you think the title “The Choice” is going to be about Gabby choosing between Travis and Kevin, but soon enough the reader realizes that it has to be Travis because there is hardly any character buildup of Kevin and what is mentioned is warm, but not enough to make you cheer for him in any way at all. The Prologue gives us a sense of this as well, though still leaving the reader uncertain. You wonder what exactly happened and did it have to do with Gabby’s choice. The Author does a great job of creating suspense without being too cumbersome, however in this case, it is far too drawn out… particularly in Part II. I’m a stickler for continuity of story as well… when there are glaring mistakes in a book, it distracts from my enjoyment and there are two huge holes for me. 1. When Travis first invites Gabby out with his friends and their kids, it’s on Saturday and they spend the day parasailing on the boat, and then he and Gabby end up having a grilled shrimp dinner alone where he invites her on a motorcycle ride the next day (Sunday). After the ride which would be at minimum late afternoon considering all that happened, including lunch etc., he asks Gabby out to dinner for the following evening, which would be Monday. She counters by offering to cook dinner for him at her house which he accepts. Then...all of a sudden it’s Sunday again… this is the type of thing that gets in my head in a novel and brings me out of the story because I’m stuck on the glaring fact that the weekend all of a sudden has three days, two of which are “Sunday.” 2. This is minor, but still any author worth reading who wants a reader immersed in the story does adequate research on what they write about. In the novel, Travis is reminiscing about a vacation he and Gabby took to Cancun and he mentions they visited “Aztec” ruins. Most anyone who knows anything about Cancun and the Mayan Peninsula, knows it’s just that… “Mayan” ruins. The Aztec Empire was located to the north in what is now Central Mexico and Mexico City. Finally, an Epilogue is a final comment or conclusion to a book and in this case the epilogue should have been the final chapter. It doesn’t read like an epilogue at all in my mind… it’s a continuation of the story… not a comment or final conclusion. I’m not a writer nor a literary critic, but the obvious point in calling it that was to continue the suspense and buildup of the actual choice which was, as we find out, centered around Travis’ decision to continue Gabby’s life support instead of honoring her living will. This again is very predictable though… even if Gabby had ended up dying, it would not have been due to this choice as the book never really lead us to believe Travis would make that decision…there was only one choice for him and if Gabby ended up dying, it would not be because Travis chose to end her life support... this sort of took a lot of the intensity out of the book for me and lessened the final impact of her coming out of the coma. However... the title is "The Choice" so there it is!! With all this said…. the one thing I enjoyed more than anything about this book was the way the author described the love between Travis and Gabby with such sweetness and emotion. Anyone who has ever been in love can relate! Nicholas Sparks is the master of putting that feeling into words with such a delicacy and intimacy that it stirs the heart like not many writers do… at least for me! The other part of the book I really enjoyed was the “push-pull” dialog between Travis and Gabby… it was very well written, undeniably witty, and you could see them falling in love bit by bit – or possibly realizing bit by bit how deeply affected or already in love they were…. And that is what makes this book definitely worth reading!!!
Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2015
I love Nicholas Sparks. So when I heard about there was another movie being made about one of his books, I had to get it and read it. I read the book fairly quick and I am sitting here trying to figure out what happen. It moves fast. They "fall in love" in like three days. And that's it for the first part. Then it moved on to telling about The Choice Travis is forced to make. And then the result of that. It's like a blinked and it moved on.
I didn't feel there was good depth of the characters. And to be honest, I felt no chemistry. I have to say I am disappointed in the book, but I will watch the movie anyways.
5.0 out of 5 starsYou have got to read this awesome book.
Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2019
It was a surprise story. It had two sections. At the end of the first section, I thought what could the next section be about. Also, I thought that the choice was found out in the first part. But, I was truly surprised that the actual choice was made in the second part.
1.0 out of 5 starsWaste of time - no story, boring characters and NOTHING happens
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2018
I read this book to over half way, then scan read the remainder. The plot is very thin. The "choice" isn't a compelling decision and there is no twist or life affirming moment. The characters are all very transparent and completely unrealistic which meant there was no emotional attachment. The whole thing was boring and I very much wish I hadn't bought the book and then felt compelled to continue reading in the hope something was going to happen. Stop reading if you don't want to know what happens - a story about two "perfect" but totally bland people meeting, falling in love, living their perfect little lives and living happily ever after is just nonsense. Had the main character died then it would have been a much better representation of life and at least there would have been something to think about.
5.0 out of 5 starsAbsolutely Fantastic! The characters come to life and invite you into their world, and it is worth the trip!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 22, 2016
I have read most of Nicholas Sparks books, and I have to say this is at the top, along with The Guardian, Safe Haven and The Notebook. I found that it's one of those books that you can relax, and just enjoy with not much thinking to be done, which in my opinion is the best kind as it transports you to their world. The characters come to life, (all of them, not just the main 2) and I found myself, crying, laughing, smiling, frowning, in fact I think all the emotions went through me. The ending was fantastic, a twist yes, but so so good!!
4.0 out of 5 starsa beautiful romance between two endearing characters
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 11, 2016
It's what you would expect from a Nicholas Sparks book, a beautiful romance between two endearing characters. The story is quite predictable but still enjoyable. It's light, relaxing and great to chill out in the evening. It's a must-read page turner that I would recommend to every Nicholas fan. I've read it in two days; I basically couldn't put it down. Characters come to life and you get attached to them. Take it with on the train, on the plane or at the beach, it's a very easy read! The movie that came out later was also very good and it sticked nicely to the plot.