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The Ones We Choose

Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (820 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Lisa Genova meets 23andMe in this exploration of the genetic and emotional ties that bind, as debut author Julie Clark delivers a compelling story about a young boy desperate to find his place in this world, a mother coming to terms with her own past, and the healing power of forgiveness.  

The powerful forces of science and family collide when geneticist Paige Robson finds her world in upheaval: Her eight-year-old son Miles is struggling to fit in at his new school and begins asking questions about his biological father that Paige can’t answer - until fate thrusts the anonymous donor she used into their lives.  

Paige’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel as the truth of Miles’ paternity threatens to destroy everything she has grown to cherish. As Paige slowly opens herself up - by befriending an eccentric mother, confronting her own deeply buried vulnerabilities, and trying to make sense of her absent father’s unexpected return - she realizes breakthroughs aren’t only for the lab. But when tragedy strikes, Paige must face the consequences of sharing a secret only she knows.  

With grace and humor, Julie Clark shows that while the science is fascinating, solving these intimate mysteries of who we are and where we come from unleashes emotions more complex than the strands of DNA that shape us.

©2018 Julie Clark (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Puzzled

I would probably have given this a much higher rating except for one major problem. I cannot even remotely begin to understand the hyper reaction to someone being a sperm donor. Maybe there something I don’t know, but I just don’t get what the stigma is. How could it “devastate” a woman to find out her husband donated sperm before they’d even met? The way everybody reacted, you would think they had discovered he was a serial rapist! Since this was one of the major themes of the book, it really decreased my enjoyment of what was otherwise a fairly well written story.

Did I like the main character? Not especially, but surprisingly enough, that did not bother me, perhaps because there were so many other characters in the book I think I would have enjoyed meeting “for real.” I actually was hurt by somebody who had a very similar “dad reaction,” so in many ways, that theme rang very true for me and probably contributed strongly to my dislike of the lead character.

I think my very favorite part was learning so much about DNA in an understandable way. I actually got online and did some more research off and on while reading the story as well as afterwards!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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I never write reviews

This is an amazing book. The insight into genetics, a world so complex, is made easy to understand. It is far from dry science and is woven into a beautiful story.

163 of 183 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Been done before and then some

Sorry I paid a full credit for THE ONES WE CHOOSE. For smart PhD type, main character did some really ridiculous things -- she wasn't the typical head in the clouds academic, so her inner "turmoil" just didn't fly. How could she possibly feel inferior to gadfly school PTA-organization types? What school does genealogy trees today -- nice private practice perhaps, but it is too much of a loaded topic for many kids. Sperm bank plot / horrific disease old and tedious. About half way through I skipped to the end. Narrator ok. 5/8/19

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent!

Easy listening, engaging, Informative, and well constructed, this book is smart and brings up important issues worth considering. I really enjoyed it and will look for more from this author. (I have already loved the narrator from past listens.)

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Painful narration

I hung in for a few hours but ultimately it was just too forced to enjoy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • JCL
  • Coarsegold, CA USA
  • 05-14-19

Chick Novel

This is DEFINITELY a chick novel. I have a Y chromosome and am cis normal, so I found it hard to stay focused on the story as my wife and I drove. She liked it. She said it was far better than many we have listened to. IMHO, the story ended all wrapped up with too many cute bows. The reaction of the sperm donor’s wife was wholly unrealistic. Normal people do not react that way. The male characters of the story were basically doormats who occasionally functioned as warm blankets. The genetic information inserted between chapters was interesting.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Just ok

As I listened, I kept thinking about the probability of things happening as they happened in this book. I am familiar with the donor sibling registry and it has impacted my family significantly since we found found a half sibling and the biological father of my children, but I found it difficult to relate to this book. The story is very unlike the stories and mindset of donor children we know.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Eh?

I struggled to like the main character who was so caught up in her own drama that I’m surprised even her family tolerated her. However, I really struggled with the negative associations with sperm donation and bring a single-parent child in today’s world. Did this woman know no other mother who had ever been divorced? Don’t think I’d push myself to complete it if I could make the choice again.

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Moving

At its core this is a wonderful poignant story I enjoyed it immensely. Not because every part was happy but because I felt it evoked me in the emotional response that I believe the author intended and that is what I enjoy in books. But in addition to the story, the narrator, the performance was moving. The cadence and the tone made me feel the main character’s longing, separateness and fear but at the same time her love of family and almost desperate desire for connection. Very good story and so well written - down to the simple details and beautifully performed.

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Great book

I enjoyed this book. I like what it teaches about genetics, family, forgiveness, and fear. I love the flawed but great characters. It was a great story. It broke my heart at times, but it was a great read.