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Choices (Cole) Paperback – May 1, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 187 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After taking the pulse of nine centuries of medical practice in the first two volumes of his trilogy about the Cole family of physicians (The Physician, 1987; Shaman, 1992), Gordon, in concluding the series, re-examines the modern medical world that he diagnosed 26 years ago in The Death Committee. The protagonist here is R. J. Cole, a 40-ish family practitioner based in Boston, who segued from a promising law career into medicine, where she has been committed to women's rights. Now she is turned down for a top-level hospital post after her participation in an abortion clinic makes her controversial. When her stale marriage to a fellow physician also runs out of steam, Cole moves to the Berkshires, determined to succeed as a country doctor. There, she falls into a problematic romance with a Jewish real estate agent, a recovering alcoholic, former rabbi and single parent for whose 17-year-old daughter Cole secretly arranges an abortion. Gordon's greatest strength is his ability to seamlessly meld his characters' emotional dilemmas and medical crises to dramatic effect. Cole is an appealing figure, and Gordon takes pains with the other characters too, creating thoughtful and nicely nuanced portrayals, especially of Cole's rural neighbors and patients. As a compelling tale of a woman's life and a balanced look at the difficult moral issues driving contemporary medicine, this novel should earn for Gordon the wide readership he already enjoys in Europe. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In the last volume of a trilogy about a family of physicians, R. J. Cole, who got a law degree before turning to medicine, has been knocked out of consideration for an administrative position at Boston's Lemuel Grace Hospital. This failure has everything to do with the fact that as a lawyer-doctor she teaches a course in iatrogenic diseases and the fact that she performs abortions one afternoon every week at a family planning clinic. Add to her professional disappointment her divorce from her surgeon husband, and she has good reason for moving to Woodfield, in the Berkshires. Here she can satisfy her desire to practice family medicine, slowly come to love the countryside and its people, and meet ex-rabbi David Markus. Gordon doesn't need the crutches of gratuitous sex and violence to tell the delightful and moving story of R. J. and David's mutual attraction, their relations with David's daughter, and much more that may prove as worthwhile in rereading as in first reading. William Beatty --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cole (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751514748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751514742
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unfortunately, most of the people writing the other reviews missed the point of the book, or did not comprehend the full meaning of this book. It is very well written and keeps your interest at all times. It is many things all coming together to a beautiful ending. I can not imagine what more anyone would want in a book. The more-than-adequate development of the characters made for easy reading. Frankly, I found this to be the perfect ending for two such strong prior books as "The Physician" and "Shaman".
Anyone that enjoys the wonderful writing of Noah Gordon will also love this book. Don't be midled by the less than glowing reviews of other readers. I very nearly did not read this book because of the reviews. I'm so very glad I read the book and made up my own mind as to its value. I found it very entertaining and so glad I got to know Dr. R.J. Cole. Try it - you'll like it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was forewarned that Matters of Choice was of lesser stature than the first two epics of the trilogy. The disappointment was that it wasn't and epic like the first two. Now sweeping history of the time and culture. Perhaps because it was so contemporary, Mr Gordon thought he could foregoe the historical development and character development so central in the first two volume. He was wrong if that is true.
He allows himself the freedom of not being constrained by history and he actually begins to almost preach on certain subjects. He is obviously disappointed by the failure of HMO's, the failure to pass universal healthcare, the real physical pitfalls of abortion as well as the real social threats involved. He wants it all to work out.
As a physician, to me the book played like a three cord song instead of the symphonies of his other work. HE clearly is some one I would love to talk to though.
Matters is clearly worth reading. Its much better than most of these reviewers allow. It shouldn't be downgraded simply because it falls short of what people expected. If you read the first two parts of the trilogy, then you owe it to yourself to finish the circle and read Matters.
I would have given it four stars except for the ove abundance of liberal rhetoric that he should have worked out better before writing the story. Instead he gnaws on the failures of his beliefs in the book and one grows weary.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a real Noah Gordon fan. The Physician (Cole) and Shaman (Cole) were wonderful. This is drivel. I can't believe it was written by Gordon. The characters are thin and unlikeable. The plot is implausible. The interjection of medical terminology is gratuitous, and the attempts to tie current events into a sappy love story fail miserably. I wish I hadn't purchased this book, and I am very disappointed in Gordon's writing. It lacks the depth and color of The Physician and Shaman, which kept me riveted to the story and the characters. I honestly think Gordon just felt he should write something about a woman physician for a change, so he created this debacle. He obviously doesn't understand women's motivations, and certainly can't write about women's feelings. It was melodrama all the way. I hesitated to give it even one star.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...What happened to Noah Gordon when he was writing this?

"Choices" is ostensibly a second and last sequel to the massive historical best seller "The Physician" and "Shaman." However, unlike those books, both of which were detailed, emotional, educational and just overall excellent, this book is...well, it's just bad.

There is next to no detail is this novel, the story of a female R.J Cole who likes her predecessors, became a doctor. We get to read about two years in her life when she's about forty and there is no great conflict, nothing to make this plot as vibrant and grabbing as the past books. Just some stuff about the abortion controversy and even that was not in any way interesting. And in the back story for R.J. (which took up about two pages to cover the first 40 years of her life) there was a lot of stuff that would fleshed out the novel and made it much better if it had been started at an earlier point in time.

I was so happy when I found out that there was a third novel in the Cole series but this just isn't really worth reading. It's scant on detail and even worse with character personality. The magic that Gordon had when describing the past seems to dissipate when he's writing about the present. Unless your really dedicated to reading this book I would stop at "Shaman" so you can have happy memories of the amazing (first 2/3) of the Cole books.

Two stars.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading the physician, the rabbi and Shaman, I felt like Noah Gordon couldn't surprise me anymore. Those were such great books. So, when I heard that there was a new book, completing the trilogy of the Cole's saga, I thought it would be some repetition from the other. I was shocked to realize he did even better this time. The book doesn't only speak of the "gift", but it tells the drama of a woman touched by it, and by several tragedies on her life, that changes her world upside down, finding new challenges,and new tragedies, and overcoming them all. It's a heart-touching story, that makes the reader think over some thing in his own life, and start giving life and its simple and small pleasures its true value. It's a "must" to read, for anyone who liked his first books, or not
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