Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Choice: Book Review: March 2009

I read only one book this March. But I have no regrets about it. I am glad I read what I read. It is what I should have read as the moon started a new revolution. It is what I should have read as buds blossomed on trees and everything seemed to take on new life. It is absolutely what I should have read as I tried to carve out a new and definitive plan for myself in the New Year and the new season.

That book was The Choice by Nicholas Sparks.
The Choice
Nicholas Sparks

I was on a vacation at home in the last week of March. I ushered in the Gregorian New Year with friends and the plan was to usher in the Lunar New Year with family (life is so generous it always gives you multiple chances!). I caught up on some of my favourite pastimes at home and consequently one of the evenings had to be dedicated to browsing books at the new (and only) Crossword in town. I was looking for Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks but they didn’t have it and I was disappointed since I hadn’t been able to find it in Crossword Bangalore either. The guy manning the desk at Crossword Nagpur told me while walking to the shelf marked Fiction that they had only one book by Nicholas Sparks and in that they had only one copy of it. I was already beginning to lose interest yet I continued to follow him to the shelf while looking around to see if I could find something useful.

I was handed The Choice by Nicholas Sparks and the assistant left me with it. I looked at the book…it was bigger than usual books in the same category. I liked the Teal colour on the cover and the way it made the book look. It looked subdued, sophisticated, gentle and inviting. There was a bokeh of a woman on the cover and I was curious about her expression…she was smiling slightly and looking at the ground…the kind of smile that would appear on one’s face at the recollection of someone they loved or a memory associated with that person. It made me smile that way too. And then I read the tagline and that was all I needed to decide to buy the book; it said, ‘How far would you go to keep the hope of love alive’.

I turned to the back cover page and it had more reasons than one to reinforce my decision…among them was a short blurb mentioning the protagonists Travis and Gabby…it sounded sweet. Yet I wanted, in some way, to check if the book did not end in tragedy…I wanted a book that would make me feel warm…all the reasons I mentioned would have been void if the book did not end on a hopeful note. So I decided to read the last page of the book. And it was only once it was amply clear that the book ended on a happy note that I finally bought it.

The Choice is a nice book. It is not dramatic. It is, as the cover hinted, subdued. It is even tired at one point. It has a constant pace that takes one through the lives of Travis and Gabby and how they get entwined. The book is about finding true love…that person who makes you feel alive, that person whose presence makes everything seem right with the world, that person who makes you feel like you can take on anything in life. It is about trusting your instincts about that person when you find him or her. And it is about hope…that fundamental element that brings anticipation with it and makes life beautiful and something to look forward to.

The development and detail of Travis and Gabby’s relationship has been done very nicely…keeping it concise when required and elaborate at others. The cardinal reason why I loved the book is because I found so much of myself and my life in the book…it became special for that reason. And the fact that they had only one book and one copy of it at the store almost sealed the fact that it was meant for me…in every way.

Readers of Nicholas Sparks books might not find this to be one of his best…this book is more about quiet courage, patience and wait. I did not find myself crying or even getting choked while reading since I went on with the book at its pace as it drew me into the lives of Travis and Gabby. I did utter a sigh of relief when it so entailed but that was about emotional as I got. For most part I was smiling enjoying the fun of watching/imagining Travis and Gabby together. So my word would be that the book is definitely worth being read once.

As for me I took away a lot from the book. I learnt that hopeless optimism is not without its rewards. That patience and the ability and willingness to wait are virtues and not signs of foolishness. That love transcends boundaries of the cognizant and shows the way when one is lost…it always helps one make the right decision and that one should trust the decision one makes out of pure love. This book could as well have been a person in my life…a friend, philosopher and guide who might have solved a predicament by relating a story like a good friend does…I am left with taking a leaf out of that story and making my decision…of how far I would go.

Happy reading!

2 Thinkers Pondered:

Sowmya said...

I pray that you keep the hope alive and that the wait will come to an end soon...

I have been keeping it alive for years now and my soul is tired... Therefore I wish all the more that you are right about "you will find it some day"...


Vibhushan said...

Loved the lines "that hopeless optimism is not without its rewards. That patience and the ability and willingness to wait are virtues and not signs of foolishness."
Although "hopeless optimism" sounds so much ironical, and even foolish at times, one needs to keep faith and derive strength to carry this optimism. I am sure it will be rewarded someday, because life has this habit of coming full circle, without you even knowing when you are back to good times. I tried to hint at this in my last post on my blog about 'wait', but you have put it in much much better fashion.
Though I am not much into reading fiction, this looks like a book to check out.