The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Book Review

A Romance Novel With a Twist

Nicholas Sparks the choice book cover
Photo from Amazon

This love story from Nicholas Sparks follows his usual easy-to-read, entertaining style, with a ​plot that culminates in a poignant ending, producing real emotion from the reader. The lovers, Gabby and Travis, seem to be cross purposes. Even their dogs seem to be at odds, especially when her dog becomes pregnant. What choices will be made?

Too Much Prologue and Epilogue?

A major criticism of the novel has been Sparks' use of a prologue and epilogue, each of which is in the present, 11 years after the main action. The criticism is not valid, for the prologue creates a sense of impending but unnamed doom that heightens dramatic tension in the novel. Hints are dropped. He brings flowers to his wife of 11 years at her workplace because they'd had an argument three months ago, the last time they had spoken and shared the same bed. As a child, Travis asked his father to tell him stories with a surprise ending because these were the best ones.

The story then moves to when they met 11 years earlier. Travis is a single and unattached veterinarian, his life filled with friends and fun. She's in a long-term relationship. In fact, she has moved to Beaufort, North Carolina to be near her boyfriend. Her dog brings them together. In just a few days, Gabby and Travis fall in love. She resists with all her might, but the inexorable flow of the ocean is working against her. Shortly after meeting her, Travis "knew that the solitary journey he'd been on for years had somehow reached its end." Both know snap decisions can be made, can be exactly right, and powerfully enduring.

The Twist

Sparks said at a reading that he always knows the twist, the surprise which ends his novels when he begins writing. This twist will, compared to his other emotionally charged novels, unleash a torrent of tears, Niagara Falls on steroids. But, the emotion will be emotionally cleansing for it involves a choice each of us is likely to face one day. How do we meet the curveball life throws us from time to time? What choice will Travis make?

This is the stuff of serious romance novels. Perhaps the most prescient comment is by a woman at a reading who noted, "Life gets turned around by someone, a catalyst, who melts the other person's wall." That is true here, but the catalyst is a bit surprising, even for Sparks.

Why Are Sparks' Novels so Popular?

Readers appreciate that Sparks always provides a good story. It has a message and it flows. He seems to understand women. There is always a clear theme, but it isn't written to formula.

The Movie

"The Choice" was made adapted as a feature movie in 2016, starring Benjamin Walker as Travis and Teresa Palmer as Gabby, with Maggie Grace and Tom Welling as their other love interests and Tom Wilkinson as Travis' father. It received a very poor rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Your Citation
Flanagan, Mark. "The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Book Review." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Flanagan, Mark. (2020, August 28). The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Book Review. Retrieved from Flanagan, Mark. "The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Book Review." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 24, 2023).