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Chosen: A Novel Paperback – November 8, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061974315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061974311
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,290,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hoffman's middling debut explores the darker side of open adoption, as seen through the eyes of Chloe Pinter, a young social worker at a Portland, Ore., adoption agency. Juggling the insecurities of the wealthy and infertile Francie and John McAdoo with the increasingly strident demands of the contracted and impoverished birth parents, Penny and Jason, Chloe starts to question her own beliefs and motivations. When Chloe sees that Penny has bought a basinet, she warns the McAdoos that the adoption might not go through, inadvertently setting off a chain of events that eventually puts a newborn in danger's path. Hoffman seems to want the reader to understand the dilemma of birth parents confronted with the need to give up a child, but Penny and Jason and their family are too damaged and destructive to elicit any empathy, and the McAdoos, on the other end of the class spectrum, never fail to fall into stereotype. There is a whisper of a solid story about the way poverty, yearning, opportunity, and loss can play out, but with characters so weakly realized, it's tough to see this as anything more than a good-intentioned but inexpert exercise.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Chloe Pinter is in charge of domestic adoptions at Portland’s Chosen Child adoption agency. She advertises on adoption Web sites; interviews prospective birth mothers; arranges for their rent, food, and clothing for the last three months of their pregnancies; keeps files on all potential adoptive families; attends the births; and basically is on call 24 hours a day. She feels she is making a positive difference in the lives she touches, which makes up for her low salary. But suddenly things begin to disintegrate. One set of birth parents, Penny and Jason, try to extort adoptive parents John and Francie for more money, and demand that Chloe find Jason a job. Then John runs off with “a 19-year-old whore in Singapore,” and Francie starts divorce proceedings. Chloe begins to think that following her undependable but loyal surfer boyfriend to Hawaii may not be such a bad idea. Hoffman herself has worked in an orphanage and run an adoption program, and her sparkling debut fully engages the reader with Chloe’s altruistic dreams and the predicament in which she unexpectedly finds herself. --Deborah Donovan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

This was a very well written book and I would highly recommend it.
Laura K. Mollenhauer
Ms. Hoffman does a great job of developing the characters and bringing out their personalities.
Susan Schleicher
It was just too much stereotyping - there is no depth to these characters whatsoever.
Heather ORoark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Karie Hoskins VINE VOICE on August 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn A. Getchell TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Chosen: A Novel by Chandra Hoffman is a brilliant treatment of deeply moving subject matter ~ child adoption. Chandra has used her own life experiences as a relief worker in a Romanian orphanage and as a manager of a private, domestic adoption agency in the US as background in this absorbing, true-to-life fiction.

With a style which is straight-forward and direct, Chandra provides action with the grip and pace of a thriller. The atmosphere is rich and palpable, the characterizations strong and believable. Her cleverly designed third person narrative gives voice to every side of child adoption, with dialogue which is authentic and believable. I was enthusiastically engaged from the foreboding first chapter, aptly titled "Red Flag," until the novel's exciting and surprising denouement. The ending was completely satisfying for me.

The thrust of the plot is driven by the social and emotional complexities of child adoption. Chandra expertly takes the reader through the agony and bliss, the stress and the exhilaration of the many aspects of adoption. Her story line covers those circumstances which lead one to the adoption agency, say one woman's unwanted pregnancy and an other's infertility. She also delves into pregnancy, child birth, even postpartum depression. She takes us below the surface and deep into the raw emotional world of both birth mothers and fathers as well as adoptive mothers and fathers. Every consideration is examined tenderly and with great sensitivity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pirate2240 on November 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Chloe Pinter has what she would consider the "best" job and at times, the "worst" job. She is the director of Portland's Chosen Child domestic adoption program and she is the case worker that helps families find just the perfect child for them to adopt, fitting birth mothers and adoptive parents together. In a sense, she helps build families for parents who can't have children through conventional methods. The downside of this, is that often times, birth mothers wait until the last minute to decide that they want to keep their baby, leaving the adoptive parents with nothing but heart break and the time spent waiting once more to find a birth mother to have a child.

In Chosen by Chandra Hoffman, Chloe is working with three very different sets of parents. One couple who have been childhood sweethearts since college despite twelve miscarriages and a dozen fertility problems are now finally expecting their own baby, praying that this one will carry to term. Another set of parents, are wealthy and can afford the expense that the adoption process carries with it, yet despite their ages, they are finally hoping that they can find a birth mother who will be willing to offer them a child. The final couple are the birth mother and her boyfriend who are having difficulty coming to an agreement over what they want to do. The boyfriend wants to make as much money as possible on the baby and the mother is considering keeping the child.

This is a very compelling look into the different sides of the adoption process from the case worker, to the birth mother to the adoptive parents. Each with a different set of motives, the reader is drawn into each couple's unique set of circumstances and is torn with their emotions over how difficult the entire adoption process can be.
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More About the Author

Since graduating from Cornell University, Chandra has been an orphanage relief worker in Romania, a horse trainer in the Caribbean, a short order cook in a third world hospital, the director of a US adoption program and an event planner for Philadelphia's Main Line elite.

She has lived in eleven international cities and this wanderlust shaped her writing--in each novel, the setting is its own character, flavoring the story. She prefers to write about everyday scenarios, shining a light on the complexities of situations through the voices of multiple characters. Her debut novel, Chosen, uses the domestic adoption scene of Portland, Oregon as a backdrop to pose the questions "What happens when you get what you thought you wanted?" and "How far would you go if it might not be what you want anymore?"

Chandra received her MFA from Antioch University in 2007. She is now settled back in her hometown outside of Philadelphia with her husband, three young children and an ever-changing menagerie.