HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Choice
Author: Carolyn Erman
Publisher: Zayin Publishing, third printing in 2010
Related website: http://carolynnovels.com/ (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Older teens and adults
Rating: *** 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Erman, Carolyn. The Choice (published in 2000, third printing republished in 2010 by Zayin Publishing, P. O. Box 571, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703). This is Volume 2 of the four part “A Time for Every Purpose” Series by Carolyn Kresge Erman, who passed away on Feb. 12, 2015. In Volume I of the series, The Challenge, David Jensen and Hope Phillips take the challenge to remain pure during their betrothal leading up to their wedding. In this sequel, the reader follows their lives after marriage along with the lives of many among their family and friends. Hope’s sister Shelley has left home and is living a rather selfish life but meets Steven Farr who is a very godly young horse trainer and finds herself attracted to him. Her friend Annette Neil has been taken advantage of by Rob Shelton, but a godly young man named Don Tennison comes to work with her in her father’s saddle shop and is interested in her even though she feels so unworthy. David’s friend Noah Standfield, a widower in his sixties, meets Hope’s aunt Evelyn. Kevin Thompson, who formerly worked for the Phillips and was in love with Hope, has moved to work on a ranch in Oregon, and is still hurting over her wedding to David, but meets Amber, the niece of his employers. Will all these people make “’the choice” properly as David and Hope did?
As with The Challenge, I do appreciate the emphasis on remaining pure prior to marriage. However, I found two major problems with the story. The first is literary. The writing style has numerous characters that pop up, are ignored for a long period of time, then pop up again, and somehow the reader is supposed to remember who they are and how they fit into the plot. It also involves the narrating of many long prayers. Now, I like a book where people are portrayed as praying. But these prayers often go on and on for page after page in great detail, and I feel that they sometimes hinder trying to follow the action. The second major problem is theological. The author uses the characters to promote her own religious beliefs. Some of these are personal opinions which picture things like patriarchy, betrothal instead of courtship or dating, and eating natural foods as making one more spiritual or holy. Others are doctrinal in nature. Even a company which endorses and sells the books warns, “It is advisable to read as a family or for father to read before the children to make sure no concepts which are contrary to your convictions are imparted without your input.”
For example, references occur to a number of things with which many Bible believers will disagree, such as observing various aspects of the Old Testament law, especially dietary regulations and the Sabbath; the use of applause, instrumental music, and solo singing in worship; and Premillennialism. One scene sounds a lot like a Pentecostal revival. To help him reestablish a better relationship with Annette, Mr. Neil is urged to quit going to church services so much and spend more of that time with her. I realize that a person might make attending to religious duties an excuse for ignoring other responsibilities, but I did not like this advice. And there is the ever present idea that the Holy Spirit leads people today by communicating directly with them through planting thoughts in their minds, giving them feelings in their hearts, and speaking in a still small voice. There are some interesting story lines in the book, but to find them one may often have to wade through and overlook a lot of extraneous material. Also, it ends with several issues unresolved, which I suppose is intended to lead into the next sequel, The Question.