Saturday, May 30, 2015

Book Review: "The Choosing"

 Carrington Hale lives in a world where girls are trained from childhood to become wives. They live for the day of their “choosing,” when eligible bachelors will select their mates for life. If a young woman is not chosen on this one day, she is banished from her family, her home, her community. She will spend the rest of her life serving silently behind the scenes, living out "a cruel fate of [her] own making." In Carrington’s world, significance and value only come from being chosen.

When questionable circumstances give Carrington an unprecedented second chance to be chosen, though, she begins to realize that there may be worse things than not being chosen. And when a friend introduces her to a mysterious man who is secretly teaching people about a better way to live, she begins to question her society’s estimate of her worth. The safety of the status quo may be more dangerous and damaging than she knows.

I loved reading this book. The theme of remembering and forgetting and remembering and forgetting and remembering again and again until you get it has stuck with me. I find it encouraging to realize that forgetting a lesson learned is part of learning and that God will bring the lesson back to me as often as necessary until it finally sticks. Ideas about personal worth, responsibility, free will, mercy, and justice were solid. The story itself was fun to read. I’ll be watching for the sequel in Spring of 2016.

Fans of dystopian novels will love this book. I received my copy from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

Q&A with Rachelle Dekker Author of The Choosing

About the Author . . . The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com.

  • How did you come up with the story for The Choosing? This is a hard question because it has many answers. I wanted to write a theme-based novel about identity. I wanted to write a dystopian novel. I wanted to write in a world that was familiar, but in a setting where I could change the way the world worked. It actually is several ideas I’d been toying with pulled into one story. Once I landed on Carrington’s core revelation and story arc, I simply fell in love with her as a character and drew the rest of the story around her. That’s usually how it works for me. I come up with a character, good or bad, and create the story from there.
  • You based your main character, Carrington, off of your younger sister. In what ways is Carrington like her? It’s more the beliefs that Carrington struggles with that remind me of my sister. The idea of worth, of not feeling like you’re enough, or questioning whether anyone would choose you. Carrington came about as I spent time with my sister and her college-age friends and saw that a large majority of them were searching for significance, searching for worth—none more than my sister at the time.
  • Throughout the book, Carrington struggles with understanding her identity and worth and what is true. Why did you decide to write about the theme of identity? Someone once asked me, If you could leave one message for your younger sisters, what would it be? The answer was always the same: I would pray they knew what they were worth. Identity is everything. There isn’t a theme that doesn’t start with identity, or circle back to identity. Knowing who you truly are is the greatest journey we face. Am I enough; am I worth it? I believe everyone faces these questions, and I sought out to explore them through this story.
  •  What is it like being Ted Dekker’s daughter? Did your father help you with the writing process? Being Ted’s daughter is wonderful! He’s the best, but then I hope many daughters feel that way about their fathers. He is a bit of a mystery, though. Sometimes, even sitting at the dinner table, I can tell he’s lost in thought, and I wonder what it might be like to have his mind. It’s been a blessing to watch him write and struggle with writing, so that now when I struggle I have an understanding ear to talk off. He is always willing to talk me through the emotional and mental side of writing (which is where the biggest battles lie in wait) but as far as story, for the most part he lets me fend for myself. It’s always been important to me to write through my challenges on my own. To figure out scenes alone. In fact, he didn’t even read The Choosing until I was already in conversations with Tyndale about publication. I think that’s because he wanted me to believe I could do it on my own. But when I doubt my ability as a writer, and when I forget who I am, he is the one I call. And he reminds me that life is a journey of remembering and forgetting, and helps me in remembering once again.

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