Friday, September 25, 2020

Book Review: The Choice

By Sara Steven

Olivia Pritchard lives in constant fear since Mother Mason came into power. Everything from healthy eating to exercise is controlled by the government, all in the name of health and happiness. Olivia hates being dictated to, but to protect her family she must follow the rules or face a stay in the Shame Box - a perspex box, placed in a public place for everyone to judge.

After Olivia witnesses an innocent woman being violently arrested, she is no longer able to ignore the injustice. The underground rebellion 'Cut The Apron Strings' is gaining momentum and for the first time in years Olivia has a choice: keep her head down or join the fray…
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

For those who are fans of The Handmaid’s Tale, this dystopian thriller needs to be the next book on your to be read pile! It was absolutely chilling, the thought of having anyone control the way I choose to live my life by way of food, exercise, the high and hard to reach expectations that are placed on every single person and family unit under Mother Mason’s jurisdiction. Olivia can remember a time before all of the strict guidelines, when she owned a bakery and could bake desserts to her heart’s content. In this new world, bakeries are banned, and sugar is the devil.

In this world, people are pitted against each other, encouraged to spot out any potential illegal wrongdoing, and often this ends in the Shame Box. Yet there are many other ways to dole out punishment, and much of what I read had been nothing short of scary. Children taken from their homes, adults sent to macabre prisons, the type that focus on the very things the Mother Mason establishment warns against. Olivia feels there is no winning, no matter what she chooses to do, and it makes for a very trying and difficult life.

The Choice goes so much deeper than what the storyline entails. In our society, we hear so much about the dangers of eating unhealthily, of not exercising, in not making healthy choices. Olivia’s experiences takes all of that and asks, “At what cost?” How far do we go in order to create a “better” world? And, in doing so, is it really any better? Should we take away someone’s personal choice in how they want to live their lives, even if it means they might not live in a manner of wellness, or should everyone have that say? In this story, it’s so far one way or the other, there is no balance, so similar in representing how hard it is for those of us in the “real world” to find that balance.

I felt intrigued and hooked from the very first chapter, wanting to know what would happen next for Olivia, her family, her friends. At times challenging, and at others inspiring, it was hard not to put myself in her shoes and wonder how I would react or deal with a similar situation, if I could suck it up if it meant keeping my family safe, or if I would go against the grain in order to change up the status quo. It made me appreciate the bowl of ice cream I had last night, all the more. A well deserved, five-star read from me!

Thanks to Orion for the book in exchange for an honest review. 

No comments: