I should be the perfect reader for this book. I've been up and down the infertility and adoption roller coasters. I spent five years of my life trying to "have our baby, cross the finish line, and be out of this psychotic parallel universe," as one of the main characters puts it.
And yet as much as I should have identified with the characters in "Chosen", after about the first third of the book, I began to actively dislike all of them except the adoption caseworker. The reader is allowed limited access to the thoughts of most of the main characters...birth parents, adoptive parents, etc. and through this, learns a bit too much. Either the author was a bit unsure of who her characters were or these people as a group are really off balance. The men, especially, go between being sensitive and emotional to violent and incredibly crude. (I am not easily shocked but there were several passages when the reader is in a male point of view that turned my stomach.) I don't think, given the genre, that this is what the author was trying for so I am surprised that those weren't edited out.
Again, I've been where these people are. I know the emotional roller coaster that hope, grief, joy and despair can create. I know how soul crushing the process can be. And yet I found myself nearing the end of the book hoping that none of them would end up as parents. A new father, whose life is unlike anything he expected, true, thinking, "Right now the baby feels like a money-gobbling parasite...Of course he knows it won't always be like this, that Wyeth will start to give back in some way, be more than a drain on their energy and finances." At another point, two of the main male characters imagine killing the women in their lives in horrific ways.
Another thing I couldn't figure out was why, after a baby goes missing, the reader doesn't get anything from the mother's point of view. She is shuffled to the sidelines and the reader is forced to guess as her feelings and emotions after losing the baby she's tried so long to have. The one person closest to the situation and the reader is cut off from her.
I've looked over this review a few times, unsure if it was one I should post. But this subject of wanting a child, trying desperately to have a child and the fragile feelings one has while on any side of the adoption triangle is close to my heart. I think the author had good intentions when writing "Chosen" - I think her goal was to show that no one involved in the process is all good or all bad - completely unselfish or totally greedy. I just feel like this was an opportunity missed.