Chosen review: The debut novel by Chandra Hoffman
It’s time to put away summer clothes, stack away beach reading and dig out the boots -- and cuddle up with books that have meatier plots. Chosen by Chandra Hoffman is the perfect read for fall, setting us right into Portland’s miserable drizzle that is the backdrop for this debut novel about adoption, families and holding on through misery in hopes of sunnier days.
Fall must-read: Chosen
Author Chandra Hoffman weaves together the lives of couples on all sides of the adoption equation -- those with babies but unable to support a child and those without babies but with the means and hopes for a perfect baby with a pristine medical history. The main character, Chloe Pinter, is an adoption agent who bridges the gap between birth parents and adoption parents while working tireless hours to facilitate the needs of both parties. She starts out feeling it's an honor, but when an adoption goes horribly wrong, questions arise for everyone about the realities of raising a child.
Hoffman creates characters in broad strokes and then unravels their history in unique alternating voices. It's this mastering of speech idioms that gives depth to Chosen.
The unapproachable, violent and poor birth parents, Jason and Penny, become easier to relate with after they give up their son to the wealthy McAdoos. Hoffman captures the human awkwardness in hospital scenes and creates a tension so palpable it can make the reader squirm as Francie McAdoo speaks in stage whispers holding a ridiculous oversized stuffed animal while Jason and Penny struggle to sign away their child.
Chosen draws in readers slowly, building a web of small, seemingly unrelated events into a page-turner that will tear at the heart-strings and wipe away what readers thought they knew about adoption.