Book Review – ‘Choose Me’ by Kay Langdale

It’s very rare that I read a book I really, really don’t want to end. A book in which I feel so invested, I want to congratulate the characters for what they have achieved.

This is the story of how a young boy’s mother dies, leaving him an orphan – his father, a shadowy figure, introduced his mother to the drug habit which killed her and apparently left behind nothing, except that Billy looks exactly like him – and the quest to find Billy a new family. Since Billy is not a cute Guatemalan girl of five, his chances, apparently, are less than bright, especially after his mother’s parents turn away from him in their grief.

What strikes me about this novel is the strength of the characterisations. I agonise with the social worker, charged with the job of finding Billy a new family; I empathise with the grandparents, riven and destroyed by grief, blinded to the needs of their grandson until it is almost too late. The thoughtful and searching interplay of the characters is so true to life, I was pulled along by this story, and now I really want to hear more about them, and what happened next. Will Kay Langdale write a follow-up?

Motivations are part of what make a book credible, whether the ending is happy or not. If the characters come alive to me, and I can hear their voices, I don’t really care if they believe in Santa, live in a mansion in Santa Barbara, or in a squat in Glasgow. I want to listen to their voices, hear their story and cheer them on. And Kay Langdale manages that process so beautifully, Choose Me really is a marvellous story.

I won’t tell you what happens, because I think you should read it.


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