Book Review: Simon’s Choice by Charlotte Castle

8600510Title: Simon’s Choice
Author: Charlotte Castle
Genre: Drama, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

“But, Daddy? Who will live with me in Heaven?”

Doctor Simon Bailey has everything a man could ever want. Then his beautiful daughter is diagnosed with Leukemia.

He can almost accept her impending death. He can almost accept the fact that he will have to live without her. But he cannot stand the thought of his little girl having to face death alone.

He answers her innocent question in a moment of desperation, testing his marriage, his professional judgment and his sanity to the limit. As cracks form in Simon’s previously perfect family, we wonder, as do his loved ones … will he really make the ultimate sacrifice?

Combining poignant moments of both humour and pain, ‘Simon’s Choice’ is a penetrating account of parenthood at the sharp-end.

Simon’s Choice is a heart-wrenching, time-stopping novel that brought me to the edge of tears. It’s drama at its finest, showing us the darkest sides of life, but doing so in a convincing way.

Simon’s daughter has been diagnosed with Leukemia. She’s been in remission for a while, but now the illness is back and more destructive than ever. He’s a doctor and blames himself for not noticing her symptons right away. When Simon and his wife get the devastating news that their daughter will not recover, and only has a few months left to live, it shatters their family.

When his daughter, Sarah, asks him if she’s going to die, she takes up the news in stride. What she can’t cope with, is being all alone in heaven. No relatives of theirs have passed away, and there’s no one there to take care of her when she dies. So when she asks, Simon gives the most illogical response ever: he’ll go with her.

For his wife, Melissa, who translates this into Simon going to kill himself, this news shows his mental instability. She distances herself from her husband, and she goes very far with this. I found it to be believable, but my feelings toward Melissa went from feeling sorry to hating her after seeing what she put him through. She only allowed him supervised visits with Sarah, told him to move out, and so on. Basically she blamed him for everything, without putting any blame on herself.

The ending was bittersweet, and had a massive emotional impact on me. The book is strong in general, but it has its ups and downs. Melissa’s reactions were exaggerated, but I kind of understand she could behave so irrationally in light of what happened.

The book also opens up our eyes to how we act around people in as much pain as Simon and Melissa are, and it’s not pretty.

Don’t expect a light read when you start this book. I ended up teary-eyed, but if I hadn’t been in the train when reading, I probably would’ve cried my eyes out. Not for the faint of heart.


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