The Choiceby Nicholas Sparks
Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life - boating, swimming , and regular
#1 New York Times bestseller Nicholas Sparks turns his unrivaled talents to a new tale about love found and lost, and the choices we hope we'll never have to make.
Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life - boating, swimming , and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies -- he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door.
Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, THE CHOICE ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?
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By Nicholas Sparks
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2007 Nicholas Sparks
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMay 1996
"Tell me again why I agreed to help you with this." Matt, red-faced and grunting, continued to push the spa toward the recently cut square at the far edge of the deck. His feet slipped, and he could feel sweat pouring from his forehead into the corners of his eyes, making them sting. It was hot, way too hot for early May. Too damn hot for this, that's for sure. Even Travis's dog, Moby, was hiding in the shade and panting, his tongue hanging out.
Travis Parker, who was pushing the massive box alongside him, managed to shrug. "Because you thought it would be fun," he said. He lowered his shoulder and shoved; the spa-which must have weighed four hundred pounds-moved another couple of inches. At this rate, the spa should be in place, oh ... sometime next week.
"This is ridiculous," Matt said, heaving his weight into the box, thinking that what they really needed was a team of mules. His back was killing him. For a moment, he visualized his ears blowing off the sides of his head from the strain, shooting in both directions like the bottle rockets he and Travis used to launch as kids.
"You've already said that."
"And it isn't fun," Matt grunted.
"You said that,too."
"And it isn't going to be easy to install."
"Sure it is," Travis said. He stood and pointed to the lettering on the box. "See? It says right here, 'Easy to Install.'" From his spot beneath the shady tree, Moby-a purebred boxer-barked as if in agreement, and Travis smiled, looking way too pleased with himself.
Matt scowled, trying to catch his breath. He hated that look. Well, not always. Most of the time he enjoyed his friend's boundless enthusiasm. But not today. Definitely not today.
Matt reached for the bandanna in his rear pocket. It was soaked with sweat, which had of course done wonders for the seat of his pants. He wiped his face and wrung the bandanna with a quick twist. Sweat dribbled from it like a leaky faucet onto the top of his shoe. He stared at it almost hypnotically, before feeling it soak through the light mesh fabric, giving his toes a nice, slimy feel. Oh, that was just dandy, wasn't it?
"As I recall, you said Joe and Laird would be here to help us with your 'little project' and that Megan and Allison would cook some burgers and we'd have beer, and that-oh yeah, installing this thing should only take a couple of hours at the most."
"They're coming," Travis said.
"You said that four hours ago."
"They must be running a little late."
"Maybe you never called them at all."
"Of course I called them. And they're bringing the kids, too. I promise."
"Uh-huh," Matt answered. He stuffed the bandanna back in his pocket. "And by the way-assuming they don't arrive soon, just how on earth do you think the two of us will be able to lower this thing into place?"
Travis dismissed the problem with a wave as he turned toward the box again. "We'll figure it out. Just think how well we've done so far. We're almost halfway there."
Matt scowled again. It was Saturday-Saturday! His day of recreation and relaxation, his chance to escape from the grindstone, the break he earned after five days at the bank, the kind of day he needed. He was a loan officer, for God's sake! He was supposed to push paper, not hot tubs! He could have been watching the Braves play the Dodgers! He could have been golfing! He could have gone to the beach! He could have slept in with Liz before heading to her parents' house like they did almost every Saturday, instead of waking at the crack of dawn and performing manual labor for eight straight hours beneath a scalding southern sun....
He paused. Who was he kidding? Had he not been here, he would have definitely spent the day with Liz's parents, which was, in all honesty, the main reason he'd agreed to Travis's request in the first place. But that wasn't the point. The point was, he didn't need this. He really didn't.
"I don't need this," he said. "I really don't."
Travis didn't seem to hear him. His hands were already on the box, and he was getting into position. "You ready?"
Matt lowered his shoulder, feeling bitter. His legs were shaking. Shaking! He already knew he'd be in serious, double-dose-of- Advil pain in the morning. Unlike Travis, he didn't make it into the gym four days a week or play racquetball or go running or go scuba diving in Aruba or surfing in Bali or skiing in Vail or anything else the guy did. "This isn't fun, you know?"
Travis winked. "You said that already, remember?"
"Wow!" Joe commented, lifting an eyebrow as he walked the perimeter of the hot tub. By then, the sun was beginning its descent, streams of gold reflecting off the bay. In the distance, a heron broke from the trees and gracefully skimmed the surface, dispersing the light. Joe and Megan, along with Laird and Allison, had arrived a few minutes before with kids in tow, and Travis was showing them around. "This looks great! You two did all of this today?"
Travis nodded, holding his beer. "It wasn't so bad," he said. "I think Matt even enjoyed it."
Joe glanced at Matt, who lay flattened in a lawn chair off to the side of the deck, a cold rag over his head. Even his belly-Matt had always been on the pudgy side-seemed to sag.
"I can see that."
"Was it heavy?"
"Like an Egyptian sarcophagus!" Matt croaked. "One of those gold ones that only cranes can move!"
Joe laughed. "Can the kids get in?"
"Not yet. I just filled it, and the water will take a little while to heat up. The sun will help, though."
"The sun will heat it within minutes!" Matt moaned. "Within seconds!"
Joe grinned. Laird and the three of them had gone to school together since kindergarten.
"Tough day, Matt?"
Matt removed the rag and scowled at Joe. "You have no idea. And thanks for showing up on time."
"Travis said to be here at five. If I had known you needed help, I would have come earlier."
Matt slowly shifted his gaze to Travis. He really hated his friend sometimes.
"How's Tina doing?" Travis said, changing the subject. "Is Megan getting any sleep?"
Megan was chatting with Allison at the table on the far end of the deck, and Joe glanced briefly in her direction. "Some. Tina's cough is gone and she's been able to sleep through the night again, but sometimes I just think that Megan isn't wired to sleep. At least, not since she became a mom. She gets up even if Tina hasn't made a peep. It's like the quiet wakes her up."
"She's a good mom," Travis said. "She always has been."
Joe turned to Matt. "Where's Liz?" he asked.
"She should be here any minute," Matt answered, his voice floating up as if from the dead. "She spent the day with her parents." "Lovely," Joe commented.
"Be nice. They're good people."
"I seem to recall you saying that if you had to sit through one more of your father-in-law's stories about his prostate cancer or listen to your mother-in-law fret about Henry getting fired again- even though it wasn't his fault-you were going to stick your head in the oven."
Matt struggled to sit up. "I never said that!"
"Yes, you did." Joe winked as Matt's wife, Liz, rounded the corner of the house with Ben toddling just in front of her. "But don't worry. I won't say a word."
Matt's eyes darted nervously from Liz to Joe and back again, checking to see if she'd heard.
"Hey, y'all!" Liz called out with a friendly wave, leading little Ben by the hand. She made a beeline for Megan and Allison. Ben broke away and toddled toward the other kids in the yard.
Joe saw Matt sigh in relief. He grinned and lowered his voice. "So ... Matt's in-laws. Is that how you conned him into coming here?"
"I might have mentioned it," Travis smirked.
"What are you guys saying?" Matt called out suspiciously.
"Nothing," they said in unison.
Later, with the sun down and the food eaten, Moby curled up at Travis's feet. As he listened to the sound of the kids splashing away in the spa, Travis felt a wave of satisfaction wash over him. This was his favorite kind of evening, whiled away to the sound of shared laughter and familiar banter. One minute Allison was talking to Joe; the next minute she was chatting with Liz and then Laird or Matt; and so on for everyone seated around the outdoor table. No pretenses, no attempts to impress, no one trying to show anyone up. His life, he sometimes thought, resembled a beer commercial, and for the most part, he was content simply to ride the current of good feeling.
Every now and then, one of the wives would get up to check on the kids. Laird, Joe, and Matt, on the other hand, reserved their child-rearing duties at times like these to periodically raising their voices in hopes of calming down the kids or preventing them from teasing or accidentally hurting one another. Sure, one of the kids would throw a tantrum now and then, but most problems were solved with a quick kiss on a scraped knee or a hug that was as tender to watch from a distance as it must have been for the kid to receive.
Travis looked around the table, pleased that his childhood friends not only had become good husbands and fathers, but were still a part of his life. It didn't always turn out that way. At thirty-two, he knew that life was sometimes a gamble, and he'd survived more than his share of accidents and falls, some of which should have inflicted far more serious bodily injury than they had. But it wasn't just that. Life was unpredictable. Others he'd known growing up had already died in car accidents, been married and divorced, found themselves addicted to drugs or booze, or simply moved away from this tiny town, their faces already blurring in his memory. What were the odds that the four of them-who'd known one another since kindergarten-would find themselves in their early thirties still spending weekends together? Pretty small, he thought. But somehow, after hanging together through all the adolescent acne and girl troubles and pressure from their parents, then heading off to four different colleges with differing career goals, they had each, one by one, moved back here to Beaufort. They were more like family than friends, right down to coded expressions and shared experiences that no outsiders could ever fully understand.
And miraculously, the wives got along, too. They'd come from different backgrounds and different parts of the state, but marriage, motherhood, and the endless gossip of small-town America were more than enough to keep them chatting regularly on the phone and bonding like long-lost sisters. Laird had been the first to marry-he and Allison had tied the knot the summer after they graduated from Wake Forest; Joe and Megan walked the aisle a year later, after falling in love during their senior year at North Carolina. Matt, who'd gone to Duke, met Liz here in Beaufort, and they were married a year after that. Travis had been the best man in all three weddings.
Some things had changed in the past few years, of course, largely because of the new additions to the families. Laird wasn't always available to go mountain biking, Joe couldn't join Travis on the spur of the moment to go skiing in Colorado as he used to, and Matt had all but given up trying to keep up with him on most things. But that was okay. They were all still available enough, and among the three of them-and with enough planning-he was still able to make the most of his weekends.
Lost in thought, Travis hadn't realized that the conversation had lapsed.
"Did I miss something?"
"I asked if you'd talked to Monica lately," Megan said, her tone letting Travis know he was in trouble. All six of them, he thought, took a bit too much interest in his love life. The trouble with married people was that they seemed to believe that everyone they knew should get married. Every woman Travis dated was thus subjected to subtle, though unyielding, evaluation, especially by Megan. She was usually the ringleader at moments like these, always trying to figure out what made Travis tick when it came to women. And Travis, of course, loved nothing more than to push her buttons in return.
"Not recently," he said.
"Why not? She's nice."
She's also more than a little neurotic, Travis thought. But that was beside the point.
"She broke up with me, remember?"
"So? It doesn't mean she doesn't want you to call."
"I thought that's exactly what it meant."
Megan, along with Allison and Liz, stared at him as if he were just plain dense. The guys, as usual, seemed to be enjoying this. It was a regular feature of their evenings.
"But you were fighting, right?"
"Did you ever think she might have simply broken up with you because she was angry?"
"I was angry, too."
"She wanted me to see a therapist."
"And let me guess-you said you didn't need to see one."
"The day I need to see a therapist is the day you see me hike up my skirt and crochet some mittens."
Joe and Laird laughed, but Megan's eyebrows shot up. Megan, they all knew, watched Oprah nearly every day.
"You don't think men need therapy?"
"I know I don't."
"But generally speaking?"
"Since I'm not a general, I really couldn't say."
Megan leaned back in her chair. "I think Monica might be on to something. If you ask me, I think you have commitment issues."
"Then I'll make sure not to ask you."
Megan leaned forward. "What's the longest you've ever dated someone? Two months? Four months?"
Travis pondered the question. "I dated Olivia for almost a year."
"I don't think she's talking about high school," Laird cracked. Occasionally, his friends enjoyed throwing him under the bus, so to speak.
"Thanks, Laird," Travis said.
"What are friends for?"
"You're changing the subject," Megan reminded him.
Travis drummed his fingers on his leg. "I guess I'd have to say ... I can't remember."
"In other words, not long enough to remember?"
"What can I say? I've yet to meet any woman who could measure up to any of you."
Despite the growing darkness, he could tell she was pleased by his words. He'd learned long ago that flattery was his best defense at moments like these, especially since it was usually sincere. Megan, Liz, and Allison were terrific. All heart and loyalty and generous common sense.
"Well, just so you know, I like her," she said.
"Yeah, but you like everyone I date."
"No, I don't. I didn't like Leslie."
None of the wives had liked Leslie. Matt, Laird, and Joe, on the other hand, hadn't minded her company at all, especially when she wore her bikini. She was definitely a beauty, and while she wasn't the type he'd ever marry, they'd had a lot of fun while it lasted.
"I'm just saying that I think you should give her a call," she persisted.
"I'll think about it," he said, knowing he wouldn't. He rose from the table, angling for an escape. "Anyone need another beer?"
Joe and Laird lifted their bottles in unison; the others shook their heads. Travis started for the cooler before hesitating near the sliding glass door of his house. He darted inside and changed the CD, listening to the strains of new music filtering out over the yard as he brought the beers back to the table. By then, Megan, Allison, and Liz were already chatting about Gwen, the woman who did their hair. Gwen always had good stories, many of which concerned the illicit predilections of the town's citizens.
Travis nursed his beer silently, looking out over the water.
"What are you thinking about?" Laird asked.
"It's not important."
"What is it?"
Travis turned toward him. "Did you ever notice how some colors are used for people's names but others aren't?"
"What are you talking about?"
"White and Black. Like Mr. White, the guy who owns the tire store. And Mr. Black, our third-grade teacher. Or even Mr. Green from the game Clue. But you never hear of someone named Mr. Orange or Mr. Yellow. It's like some colors make good names, but other colors just sound stupid. You know what I mean?"
"I can't say I've ever thought about it."
"Me neither. Not until just a minute ago, I mean. But it's kind of strange, isn't it?"
"Sure," Laird finally agreed.
Both men were quiet for a moment. "I told you it wasn't important."
"Yes, you did."
"Was I right?"
Excerpted from The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Copyright © 2007 by Nicholas Sparks. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
With over 100 million copies of his books sold, Nicholas Sparks is one of the world's most beloved storytellers. His novels include 12 #1 New York Times bestsellers. All his books have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and were translated into more than 50 languages. Ten Sparks novels have been adapted into major motion pictures, with The Choice coming in February 2016.
- New Bern, North Carolina
- Date of Birth:
- December 31, 1965
- Place of Birth:
- Omaha, Nebraska
- B.A. in finance, University of Notre Dame, 1988
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I picked up this book as something to read in my spare time, but it ended up gripping me for the two days it took to finish. It is the story of Gabby Holland and Travis Parker, two people destined to be together but are separated by heart-breaking choices. Sparks takes the reader through their meeting and falling in love, but Gabby has to choose between the boyfriend she's had for years and Travis, the man she's only known for three days. The story then leads to an even more unexpected choice that will bring you to tears. I recommend this to anyone who wants a quick and satisfying read.
I fell in love with this book. Nicholas Sparks is such an amazing author that I feel the need too read every single one of his books. He captures the center on the book and makes it seem a hundred times better than what it really it. I cried towards the end of the book, I'd read it again if I wanted too. This books taught me many lessons, and the lesson is: Never give up, life is full of amazing wonders but the most important wonder is LOVE.
I absolutely love this author. I was complety captivated in this book, BUT, it also frustated the heck out of me. "The Choice" is not the choice we think it is. Part one felt like it was a whole different book from part 2, but it works. Sad, happy, relieved are just a few of the emotions that you will feel. It is a beautiful love story. I literally gave my husband a big kiss when he got home because it reminds you that love is so beautiful and so fragile. Such a great read.
I recently read the book The Choice, by Nicolas Sparks. I found the book to be very gripping and a page-turner by the end. The novel starts out with Travis, who is the main character. Travis is the kind of man who any woman would want for herself, but somehow he is still single. He is very happy with his life in his small town of Beaufort, North Carolina, but he wants a relationship that will last a lifetime, unlike his past's relationships. His life had not changed much; he had lived in the same town he was born in, but the day his new neighbor Gabby moved in his life changed forever. Gabby moves from the big and bustling city of Savannah Georgia, to be closer to her boyfriend Kevin, of four years. Travis and Gabby meet, and they begin to hangout and get to know each other better. They spend more and more time together, and they feel like they have known one another for years. One night they had dinner together and talked all night. They talked like old friends, and by the end of the night they had fallen in love. They spent that night together, and couldn't leave each other's sides. However, the next day Gabby had to choose between Kevin, who she had been with for four years, and Travis who had only been in her life for a week. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who likes other novels by Nicolas Sparks, or like the romantic genre of books. The book was a slow starter like many of the other novels I have read by Sparks, then gradually the book picks up conflict, and it's hard to put down. Overall, the book really makes you question what you would do if you were in the same situation.
The summary on the inside cover tells you almost everything you need to know about the plot. Travis Parker is a 32-year old bachelor that loves having his married friends over for cookouts. Gabby is the new neighbor who is new to town, has few friends, and wonders when her boyfriend Kevin is going to ask her to marry him. Gabby at first doesn' t like Travis. He seems like an insensitive neighbor. From the plot summary, you know they are going to marry, so the first two thirds of the book covers a couple of days that Gabby and Travis spend together while Kevin is out of town. They go parasailing with Travis's friends. They ride motorcycles. And they fall in love. Sparks writes in a way that keeps you turning the pages, but the first part of the book seemed overly long because you know they are going to get together. There really isn't any conflict except Gabby's doubts about her relationship with Kevin. Even that isn't as strong as it could have been. The boyfriend doesn't really stand a chance when it comes to the true love Gabby and Travis discover. As usual, Sparks creates a girl in Gabby that is, while not perfect, a girl you could imagine falling in love with. Travis has similar qualities. He is adventurous, a gentleman, and although a bachelor, is great with kids and hopes to have them someday.With the style of Nicholas Sparks you will grow to love the characters. It made me laugh,giggle,and cry. It reminded me of that 'falling in love feeling once again. Highly recommend it.
The book The Choice by Nicholas Sparks is a great love story about a set of new neighbors. They start out hating each other all because the pregnancy of a dog. They slowly fall in love with each other and become the best of friends. Later in the book they have a terrible car crash and are left with a life-changing decision. I loved this book because it gave me a different perspective on life. This book would be great to read if you enjoy love stories. Nicholas Sparks is an incredible writer and he manages to make his books extremely easy to understand and enjoy. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading this book and even had a few tears fall.
When I began to read this book I wanted to be trancended into something beautiful. I had read Dear John and was ready for a new tear drooper. I was ready for the comedic side and that sharp point sadness of all of his books. I began to read "The Choice" and it was honestly so lovely. The romance that Travis has and his stubborness to attract his neighbor. Of course there are some sad parts...like in all of Sparks books but one thing that I loved was the ending it was a happy ending. That was rare for me to see that in Sparks writing. I cried, smiled, laughed, hoped, and cried some more. The Choice will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that you will never forget. It will make you realize how grateful you are and that at any moment your happiness can be ripped apart from you at any second. So grab a copy and go read it for yourself. I am crossing my fingers for a mobie adaptation. So what will be your choice to read the novel or ignore this review?
Loved this book
As always Nicholas Sparks outdid himself. I did get lost from the charge from past to present that happened a couple of times, but it was minor and I was able to catch on quickly. There are many choices made in this book, but the main choice is something no one would want to have or even think about. Even though a lot of choices are minor many can change your whole life and others rely on hope that something better will result. While possibly unrealistic in the outcome of the ending I am glad this hope fueled choice ended the way it did.
Wonderful story of true love at its finest mr. Sparks hands down is one of my top ten authors
This is my least favorite book by nicholas sparks. Part one is amazing with all the details. Part two just felt rushed. Still a great book.
"The Choice" by Nicholas Sparks was disappointing compared to some of his other work. It was something that I do not regret reading, however it is not something that I will remember and recommend as a first choice for others.
This is truely a good rainy day read. I could not put it down I read the entire thing in a day and a half. The characters just drew me in. I found myself really pulling for the couple in the book. Just when I thought I knew what was going happen, Sparks would surpise me. There were moments I laughed out loud and momoments when I tought I was going to cry. This novel is moving and entertaining. A must read for any Nicholas Sparks fan!
This book held my attention from beginning to end. It is a wonderful love story of choices and hope. The choice is fillwd with happieness and tragedy. Be patient when you hit part 2. The second starts 12 years later and makes you wonder what the heck happened just keep reading it all gets revealed. This book brought me tears of joy and sorrow. It brought me laughs and an ending that I didn't see coming! It is well written and makes you think about the relationships in your own life and choices you make.
I thought this book was going to be predictable but was pleasantly surprised!
Nicholas Sparks does it again with his profound themes of love, love, and more love. Literally cried at the end!!!
I love reading all of Nicholas Sparks books. They are always good clean love stories that are heartwarming to read.
This book is my favorite which I did not see coming. The last day I've finished the book I've read the last ten or eleven chapters in the book including the epilogue, all in one day. Anyway the book is primarily about how far would you go to save the hope of love. In the first part of the book it was about the starting of a new relationship and making the choice for Gabby to be with. In the second part it explains what happened over the years after Gabby chose Travis. In that part she gets into an accident which leaves her in a coma while Travis have to make a decision, which is the theme of the book clarifies.
This book is amazing! I must say that it is an emotional rollercoaster!! Dont stop reading you must read the epilogue!!
I just love nicholas sparks he is such amazing writer just funished the book it was amazing i just love a great love story so worth to read
This book is an amzzing love story! You really feel like you know the characters.
Like always Nicholas's Sparks books never fail me. I fall in love with the characters and I always want more!
I loved the first half of the book. The second half was not so interesting. I read all those other reviews and felt what did I miss. It wasn't the sad part that I disliked but it just dragged on until he had a good ending. I usually love his books so I was really disappointed.
Loved the book. Story was interesting from start to finish and the ending brought tears to my eyes. Recommend it to anyone that likes Nicholas Sparks.