The Choice - Claire Wade
Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley
Imagine a world where... Everything you ate was monitored by the government. Every step you took was counted. Your children were weighed every day at school. Neighbours reported on neighbours and no one was safe from judgement. Sugar was illegal, and baking was a crime. Imagine if that world was here... What would you do? Toe the line or fight for your freedom...
I was really apprehensive when choosing this book on NetGalley as there were no reviews and it could have gone terribly wrong. I was attracted by the cover and the blurb, though so thought I’d give it a try! I’m so glad I did, it was fantastic. Even though it had a very ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ feel to it, in terms of the tyrannical government, it was a very unique story. I must say that I enjoyed this a million times more than The Handmaid’s Tale, as well! You get a full story, you know exactly why the country is being governed like this, you are introduced to all the rules, and you get a full conclusion. It is an all-rounded book. The ending is a bit fanciful and outlandish, but it is in keeping with the story as a whole and the only conclusion that could have happened. We are following Olivia, a baker by trade. However, she can’t bake anymore as it is illegal! The UK has in government Mother Mason who strives to make the country great and happy by enforcing a strict diet and exercise regime. She also enforces everyone to lead their best and happiest version of themselves. All sounds great until you break the rules and the punishments are the most severe imaginable. I personally couldn’t stand to live in a world where chocolate didn’t exist; I certainly would be my happiest self more like a bear with a thorn in its foot! I don’t and can’t live without sugar! The blurb asks what would I do ‘toe the line or fight for your freedom?’ I’m not sure what I would do, to be honest. I value my life too much to fight but is a life worth living without any luxuries? I couldn’t stand being dictated to and my choice being taken away from me? The book made me feel very apprehensive but not in a terrible way, more “oh my God, I would hate to live in this world” kind of way. It grips you right from the beginning, and like I said even though the ending is a bit far fetched it is still a brilliant read. The main protagonist, Olivia, is very morose and hard to sympathise with. Sometimes I wanted to slap her for the silly mistakes she was making, and even though she knew the danger, she still took unnecessary risks. Overall, an outstanding read. I look forward to this author’s future books, as this was her debut novel and I hope it goes out into the world next month with a bang!