The Ones We Choose Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Lisa Genova meets 23andMe in this exploration of the genetic and emotional ties that bind, as debut author Julie Clark delivers a compelling story about a young boy desperate to find his place in this world, a mother coming to terms with her own past, and the healing power of forgiveness.
The powerful forces of science and family collide when geneticist Paige Robson finds her world in upheaval: Her eight-year-old son Miles is struggling to fit in at his new school and begins asking questions about his biological father that Paige can’t answer - until fate thrusts the anonymous donor she used into their lives.
Paige’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel as the truth of Miles’ paternity threatens to destroy everything she has grown to cherish. As Paige slowly opens herself up - by befriending an eccentric mother, confronting her own deeply buried vulnerabilities, and trying to make sense of her absent father’s unexpected return - she realizes breakthroughs aren’t only for the lab. But when tragedy strikes, Paige must face the consequences of sharing a secret only she knows.
With grace and humor, Julie Clark shows that while the science is fascinating, solving these intimate mysteries of who we are and where we come from unleashes emotions more complex than the strands of DNA that shape us.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 32 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||November 27, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #16,221 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#226 in Psychological Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#477 in Family Life Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#567 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2019
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I never post recommendations (everyone has their own tastes, and usually I don't try to push my tastes on others), but I can't pass this up. It has been a long time since I picked up a book and did not want to put it back down, again, until I finished. I highly recommend The Ones We Choose, by Julie Abbott Clark. Similar to Henrietta Lacks in that science is interwoven into the story, but in a very understandable (but not condescending) way for a lay person...beautifully written with real and relatable characters...intriguing and interesting, without absurd or outlandish storylines. From the jacket description (with which I completely agree!): "With grace and humor, Julie Clark shows that while the science is fascinating, solving intimate mysteries of who we are and where we come from unleashes emotions more complex than the strands of DNA that shape us."
The great love of Paige Robson’s life is her son, Miles, whom she conceived using an anonymous sperm donor. An earnest, intense geneticist, Paige has difficulty with the intimacy of adult relationships: forsaken at a young age by her unreliable father, she battles against anyone getting too close to her—even her good-natured lover Liam—because she’s afraid of getting hurt. She also worries about interference with her relationship with her son. Even so, Paige’s life is fulfilling: she enjoys her home life and her (deliberately ironic) career researching the biological underpinnings of paternal attachment.
When other children in Miles’s school begin teasing him for not having a father, he struggles with his lack of knowledge, lashing out against Paige for the manner of his conception. As she seeks to expand her knowledge of the donor—Miles’s biological father—Paige uncovers an astonishing coincidence: not only is it possible she knows the donor, but he may be harboring a terrible secret.
I got a kick out of the premise of this novel, which was beautifully enhanced by explanations of underlying genetic principles at the beginning of each chapter. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t get want to get bogged down in technical language you won’t miss a crucial plot point by skipping these portions, but if you love the opportunity to soak up some education from your pleasure reading, these sections are for you. They’re engaging, easily understood, and highly enjoyable to read.
Now on to the emotional components of the story: before writing this, I took the time to read some of the other reviews posted of this novel and noticed how many people personally identified with Paige. She is fascinating: she’s such a well-drawn, complete personality, and her story is so compelling. I don’t want to say too much here about the assumptions and choices Paige makes because there are some surprising twists in the novel that kept me stuck to the page. As in all great character-driven fiction, I found myself completely immersed in the mind of the protagonist. Paige’s love for her son is the glue that holds the story together; with every page, you sense the longing she has for her little boy to be okay. I could relate to that so much. Clark’s prose is elegant and enticing; she weaves the story together in a way that feels effortless, but as a writer I know how difficult it is to captivate readers in this way. It’s suspenseful too: trust me, you will be desperate to reach the end of the book to find out what happens.