[Review] The Choice - Nicholas Sparks

Title of Book: The Choice
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Vision
Publication Year: 2009
Language: English
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 317

Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life -- boating, swimming, and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies -- he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door. Despite his attempts to be neighborly, the appealing redhead seems to have a chip on her shoulder about him...and the presence of her longtime boyfriend doesn't help. Despite himself, Travis can't stop trying to ingratiate himself with his new neighbor, and his persistent efforts lead them both to the doorstep of a journey that neither could have foreseen. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, The Choice ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

The Choice is a book about love story between Travis Parker and Gabby Holland. This book consists of two parts, where part one is set in 1996 and part two is set in 2007. The first part is mostly about how Travis and Gabby met, their first outing and date, basically how they first fall in love with each other. While part two is how they are doing 11 years after the events in the first part of the part. I won’t get much into detail about the second part because I don’t want to give any spoiler.
I must say, this book is different from Sparks’s other books. Usually, he has this plot pattern and you would know what to expect beforehand. Not with this book and sadly, not in a good way. Some people might not like Sparks’ plot pattern, but I fall into the group of people who actually enjoy that. So, that’s one of the things that make me dislike this book.
I would be fine with the change though, if only there is something interesting going on with the characters. The plot of this book is simple. In fact, too simple that it appears as boring to me. There’s nothing special in the first part of the book in which the courting happens. It’s just about two people meeting and getting to know each other and it takes the half portion of the book. It was so slow. For example, Travis and Gabby’s first date is written in 60 pages. Although there is a complication in their first half of relationship, it isn’t explored much. I feel like it’s only mentioned just for the sake of having conflict.
The second part of the book isn’t that good either. It feels rushed. Maybe because the first part takes too much portion of the book. I believe that the main conflict is in the second part, but it’s weird. You would think that the first part is supposed to build up tension for the main conflict in the second part. The problem is, I didn’t see the connection between the first part and the main conflict in the second part. The main conflict is just suddenly there without any hint of a possibility that it would happen. The hint is all packed in the second part, which makes the second part so dense and rushed.
I would say that the characters in this book are only Travis, Gabby, and Stephanie. Of course there are Travis’s friends, Travis’s father, and some doctors from Gabby’s workplace. But they are just there for decorative purpose. They don’t have personalities. However, I like Stephanie. She has a weird sense of humor and she’s straightforward. Travis is Sparks’s usual male lead and I like it about that. So that’s a good point.
Overall, I don’t think The Choice is Sparks’s best work. I’m not sure if it would be a bad choice to start reading Nicholas Sparks with this one though. I mean, this one doesn’t have Sparks’s signature tragic ending. Still, I don’t like the writing in this book and the plot. So I end up giving it a two out of five.     

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