|by Bill Van Wyngaarden
Katie's Choice is a simple, readable, Christian fiction novel about the issues that every teen struggles with today: frustration, despair, sexual promiscuity, and lack of self worth. The story centers on the struggles of a mother and daughter, Daria and Katie, who search for direction in making life-altering decisions that involve personal choice and morality. Daria develops a strong emotional attachment to a young man and tries to lure him into a lifelong relationship by getting pregnant. The plan fails, though, and Daria is left to fend for herself. She chooses to keep the child and raise her alone.
Eighteen years later, Katie is making the same kinds of poor choices. Katie does not approve of her mother living with an unemployed man who is not her husband. Katie views him as a loser and is so anxious to escape this situation that she begins a sexual relationship with a young man. It seems she is more bored and dissatisfied with her life than she is at the prospect of making a commitment to a long-term relationship with him. Katie's boyfriend was also never serious about a committed relationship, wanting only intimacy without obligation or responsibility. When their relationship dissolves, Katie decides that she will not go through life like her mother - with the "extra baggage" of a child - and chooses to have an abortion.
Katie's Choice demonstrates the truth of Numbers 14:18 that when a when parents set a poor example, their children often will make the very same unfortunate choices and bear the same consequences. God loves us enough, though, that the very cause of our problems is often what steers us towards Him.
While the book is well written and the story line is interesting, I found it difficult to accept the characters as realistic. Unfortunately, Katie and those around her come across as sanitized versions of people. Neither the mother nor daughter is religious, choosing instead an outlook on life that amounts to little more than "do what you want to do." Although Katie faces real moral dilemmas, there are no offensive words or off-color humor; the dialogue comes off as stilted and bland. "Emotional hogwash" and "propaganda," for example, are not likely the strongest words that would flow into highly charged emotional conversations between a mother and daughter.
Katie's Choice, however, could lead to some intriguing discussions between parents and children. A child who will not listen to parental advice will likely not listen to advice written by a person who is in agreement with their parents. This book, however, could be used in an educational setting as a discussion starter on one of the most basic of bioethical decisions - choices involving human sexuality and desire.
Copyright 2005 by The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity
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