PUBLICATION DATE: AUGUST 7, 2012
ell known author, Robert Whitlow, takes on the hot-button topic of abortion vs. adoption in his newest book, The Choice.
The first half of this book is referred to as ‘part one’ and finds us traveling back in time to 1974. Sandy Lincoln, a seventeen year old girl from Rutland Georgia, finds herself in the doctor’s waiting room with her mother, anxiously awaiting test results. The doctor confirms what she has suspected for weeks … she is pregnant.
It’s now only one year following the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973, and abortion is legal and an alternative that is growing in popularity as a way to ‘handle’ an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Under pressure from the father of the child and his parents; an option being considered by her own parents, Sandy must make a choice. Enter Aunt Linda, Sandy’s mother’s sister, a pro-life woman who never married nor had children. She invites Sandy to live with her during the remainder of her pregnancy until she can give the child up for adoption.
Sandy goes through a whole bevy of emotions including betrayal by the boy she loved. This once athletic cheerleader gets asked to leave school because ‘that’s the way it was’ in those days. The only discipline the father of the child receives is getting kicked off the football team for the remainder of that year. With mounting pressure, Sandy chooses to stay with her Aunt until she weighs the pros and cons of the situation. However, as Sandy travels to her aunt’s home two hours away, she has a strange encounter at a gas station with a shabbily dressed, old woman who appears seemingly from nowhere and gives Sandy an unsettling prophecy concerning the ‘twins’ she carries; one that brings death should one twin ever come into the presence of the other. Sandy does indeed find out she is carrying twins and heeds the warning of the old woman and gives them up for adoption to two families on separate sides of the country.
‘Part two’, as it’s referred to in the book, puts us now thirty three years later. Sandy is a well-known and well-respected English teacher and cheerleading coach at the same high school that she was removed from years ago. Never married, although there had been suitors, Sandy has chosen a life of living alone, save for her dog.
Times have changed and so have mentalities on the subject of abortion. It’s now the normal first choice for so many young and unwed mothers as an easy way of making a problem go away. And so it is with Maria, a young, sixteen year old student of Sandy’s who comes to her seeking advice on what to do about her pregnancy. Pressure has been mounting for Maria from, not only her own father, but from the school’s counselor, to go to nearby Atlanta to one of the many abortion clinics and end the pregnancy. Sandy’s heart breaks for this young girl as she reflects on the difficulties that she had faced during the very same experience. She chooses to assist Maria by helping her to consider adoption as an alternative.
The story takes a turn as we’re introduced to two young men, both lawyers. One living in California but soon to be sent to Georgia on a long, legal matter that could take a few years. The other is already living right there in Georgia, and a fairly new friend of Sandy’s brother, Ben. With pressure increasing, Maria is being coerced into doing something she’s not sure she wants to do. Sandy helps this underage girl by getting her legal counsel. In comes the lawyer recommended to her by her brother. The battle for legal rights, which could set precedence in the courts, is now on. Opposing counsel is no other than the lawyer who recently moved from California to Georgia.
I must be careful from this point on in the review as I don’t want to give away what is suppose to be the crux of the suspenseful part of the book. However, you can pretty much figure out at this point what’s going on and what’s going to happen. Predictability will be the word on your mind as you continue through the rest of the book. Because of that predictability, you’re left with really only one question on your mind. What about the prophecy? While this could have been a climactic ending to the story, it instead, fell flat. The author chose to reveal the meaning in a way that left me disappointed.
While the flow of this story kept me engaged, I kept expecting the author to include faith as one of the main struggles in Sandy’s decision. He did not. While faith is a part of the book, I felt it was added as a side-note rather than a main aspect of the choice that the main character has to make. I will say this; The Choice will have you figuring out a key component of the title of the book. You see, it’s not just one choice that needs to be made.
I was grateful for the author’s notes at the end which expounds on his own personal beliefs on this controversial subject and why he chose to write the book. I only wish he would have woven that into the story more than he had. A good read about an interesting and relevant topic.