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Chosen ~ Chandra Hoffman

November 11, 2011


Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
320 pages
ISBN: 9780061974311
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

When I first came across Chosen on the list of tour books, I instantly had to have it. Though I am not adopted, myself, nor are my two children, adoption has always been a part of my life. I have several friends who have worked or currently work in adoption or social services, either domestically or internationally. Two of my cousins were adopted domestically and my little brother were adopted. Closer to home, after a fairly traumatic pregnancy, this last go ’round, if we decide to grow our little family of four, we will, most certainly be going down the path toward adoption.

Of course, I had my fears about picking this one, as well, though. Because it can be such a long, hard, emotional road for parties on both sides (and as Hoffman’s story would have it, difficult for the third-party of the agent as well), I was worried that a story on the subject might not measure up to the real life process. I also worried that the additional strand of the kidnapping would sensationalize a process that, on a good day, already has enough trouble up its sleeve.

As I started the book, and increasingly so as I read further, I found that it was my own judgement that may have been falling the process. You see, as  birth mother to my own two boys, and, really, even before I was a parent, I often wondered how someone could just “give up” a baby with no emotions attached. This is often how adoptions are portrayed with a very Oliver Twist sort of feel. We are lead to believe that the birth parents are doing something altruistic and the birthing couple or mother have very little feeling on the topic.  Of course this is a very bleak, cut and dry view on the topic and, obviously, I know that it’s mostly inaccurate. I also, realize that my history is with the end of the road, welcoming new people into my family, rather than having the opposite experience of knowing families that needed to out their children up for adoption. Obviously, this subjective view was pretty one-sided!

The story is told, chapter by chapter, each one in a different voice. Back when this style of narrative began appearing on the scene, it was hard for me to swallow its rhythm. Now, it’s so terribly in vogue that I’m not only used to it, I actually find that I like it. It was an interesting set up for this book and certainly created a large enough arena for all of the action that passed between the pages. While this was fine by me, I do feel like I have to say that some may find it a little bit disorganized or hectic. The cast of characters, themselves, were not always as fleshed out as they could be, but the story in its scope was well done enough that the character development was less essential to the overall book than the drama of the adoption field. I feel like I should put that last sentence there, with a disclaimer regarding my tendency to enjoy books even when the characters are not intensely drawn. For those looking for a deep, soul-searching look into the people involved in such a story, this is probably not going to be that satisfying. That story would probably have to focus on fewer people, overall, and it would, of course, then be a different story. Though the story, so steeped in emotion, could have been a character centered book that I might have enjoyed for that reason, I think that the way in which this one was done, accomplished a level of satisfaction, for me, regardless of the depth of the players.

With all that said, I have to praise Hoffman’s story telling style and her attention, detail and care devoted to the adoption field and process. And, yes, I know that, even though this book gave my previously conceived hangups about adoption some much-needed overhauling, it is just one woman’s interpretation of the life and times of people involved. Obviously many conflicting or just plain different, stories have been and will be told on the topic but I did enjoy Hoffman’s subjective fictional “account’ from her point of view.I would love to pass this book on to those who have found themselves on either end of the adoption process and hear back from different perspectives regarding how it stacks up when compared to their experience.

A compelling story about a very interesting topic, this is a book that I think many will like and may turn some readers toward researching into the whole process. I know that it has rekindled my questions on the subject and for that I have to thank Ms. Hoffman.

Photo credit: Robin Trautmann

About Chandra Hoffman

Chandra Hoffman has been an orphanage relief worker in Romania, a horse trainer in the Caribbean, a short order cook in a third world hospital, the director of a U.S. adoption program, and an event planner for Philadelphia’s Main Line elite. A graduate of Cornell University and Antioch’s MFA program, she has settled back in her hometown outside of Philadelphia with her husband, three young children, and an ever-changing menagerie. Chosen is her first novel.

Visit Chandra at her website, www.chandrahoffman.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter at @chandraKhoffman.


Please check out Chandra’s other blog stops, below:

Wednesday, November 9th: The House of the Seven Tails

Thursday, November 10th: Books Like Breathing

Friday, November 11th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Monday, November 14th: As I turn the pages

Wednesday, November 16th: Raging Bibliomania

Thursday, November 17th: Life In Review

Monday, November 21st: Wandering Thoughts of a Scientific Housewife

Tuesday, November 22nd: In the Next Room

Wednesday, November 23rd: Review from the Heart

Monday, November 28th: The Book Chick

Tuesday, November 29th: A Cozy Reader’s Corner

Wednesday, November 30th: A Bookish Way of Life 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2011 11:03 am

    I am reading this one right now for my tour stop, and finding myself totally engrossed. It’s such an interesting story, and one that is a bit sensationalized, but also very gripping and compelling. We also have a history of adoption in our family, so this book was very interesting from the outset to me. Very thoughtful and introspective analysis on this one. I am glad you enjoyed it!

  2. November 12, 2011 9:28 am

    Thank you so much for your thorough review! Your admission that the book challenged your preconceived notions made my heart soar.

  3. November 22, 2011 11:59 pm

    Adoption is a difficult process for everyone involved, and it sounds like Hoffman really captures that in her book. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book and learned something from it as well!

    Thanks for being on the tour!

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