The Choice by Dean Jones

You can change one thing to improve the world and humanity as a whole. What do you choose?

That is the central question of the novel The Choice, written by Dean Jones. I found the idea really intriguing.

Dean Jones recently asked on Twitter for bloggers to read and review his book, and I was delighted to help. I got my digital copy through the Kindle Unlimited programme (it was not gifted to me).

“Seven people stood on the edge of a salt plain. The sun beat down ferociously, but they didn’t feel its heat. To their left was an old American school bus, battered and worn by time with faded writing along its yellow sides.

Had they arrived on that bus? How long had they been here? These questions didn’t seem to matter to them as they stared out across a vast ancient sea bed. The white salt reflecting the burning sun causing the shimmer of heat to rise, blurring the endless horizon.”

The Choice centres around Alan Didsbury, who awakens to find himself tasked with a seemingly impossible decision — he can choose to change one thing in the world to make it a better place. To help him, there are six people from vastly different backgrounds. He interviews each one by one before making his final choice.

The Choice is available on Amazon UK — you can download it for free through the Kindle Unlimited programme or buy a copy (currently £3.99).

My review

While The Choice is fiction, it is more of a philosophical book — think Sophie’s World or The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It really made me think about what I myself might do if I had the chance to change something in the world.

The six characters that Alan speakers to throughout this book were very interesting. Each character is 43 (the same age as Alan), and from very varied backgrounds:

  • John, who moved to the US with his family from Ukraine to Brooklyn at a very young age.
  • Florence, a curly haired Scottish woman from Glasgow.
  • Mary, an ambitious senior judge and congresswoman who dreams of becoming president someday.
  • Umar, a politics lecturer at Oxford University originally from Iraq.
  • Gabriel, a French paediatric doctor currently working in Afghanistan.
  • Christina, a woman who has suffered sexual abuse since the age of 6.

After each character appears, Alan and the other characters know each other instantly — and can relive some of their memories. While the book is told from Alan’s perspective, this meant that we were given an insight into each character. This also worked the other way — it gave depth to Alan, as we learned about the hardships he has faced throughout his life, and his close relationship with his parents.

Each character gives their own perspective and thoughts on what Alan should do. They all had had such different lives that they each had seen very different world issues.

The story takes place in a dream-like world that Alan controls. I had expected that this would mean that all the characters would get along with Alan, but this isn’t the case. He instantly connects with some, while others are vicious and cruel, revisiting the insults Alan’s childhood bullies used to hurt him.

Whilst I enjoyed the premise and found the characters intriguing, there were quite a few spelling and grammatical issues throughout the book. For example, there are apostrophes missing, ‘your right’ instead of ‘you’re right’, and typos such as ‘non’ instead of ‘none’. (However, he has told me that since I alerted him about that, he has fixed a lot of these errors!) I also found the habit of all characters to constantly refer to each other by their first name during conversation quite strange — it’s just not a natural way of speaking (and many people would feel uncomfortable if you did this!). This made it a little hard to feel fully immersed into the story and the characters.

If you are a fan of philosophy and hypothetical scenarios, then I think you will really enjoy the Choice. There is some sexual violence discussed as part of Christina’s back story, so I would advise avoiding it if you may find that triggering.

The book blurb

If given the chance to change the world, what would you do?

The world is a mess. There’s a climate crisis, wide spread poverty, war and increased crime but who is going to do something about it?

Alan, along with six others, are those chosen to find the solution to it all. With humanity in his hands, Alan finds out more about himself than expected and discovers that sometimes you can’t please everyone.

Seven people, seven opinions but only one can make the choice. What will he choose to do?

About the author, Dean Jones

A photo of Dean JonesWriting stories and poetry have been part of my relaxation and pastime routine for a lot of years now. I seemed to be only good at English when there was a story or poem to be created and then my creative juices would flow as I tried to conjure up a story that was both exciting and imaginative or a poem that invoked imagery and emotion.

In my later teens, I began using poetry as a release from my own personal circumstances and found writing my darkest thoughts let me move past many of the situations I was experiencing as many young men do.

I began writing stories when I found myself working away from home. I discovered that making up short stories (which quickly became the start of larger stories) helped me cope with being away from my young family and gave me something else to do other than frequent the local bars with colleagues.

Here I am some 20 plus years later with my first novel published and others in the pipeline.

Writing still brings me joy and the stories I write, I hope, provide joy to others.

Where to buy the Choice

The Choice is available for free as part of the Kindle Unlimited programme. You can also currently buy a Kindle edition to own for £3.99. View and buy on Amazon UK.