Our Choice: A Journey of Life and Faith by Steven Atwood is the story of a teenager in a Christian home confronted with the decision of what to do with an unplanned pregnancy – keep the baby? Give the baby up for adoption? Abort? There are so many choices.
Overall the message of the book is a powerful one – it’s a message of hope, grace, and redemption – a message we all need to hear. But overall I found the book lacking in several areas. First, there was the over-use of stereotyping of characters. The extreme leftist teaches who offer counsel to this teenager, while I know they exist (because I work in the public school system), are an exception rather than the rule. The book would have you believe, however, that not a single teacher at the school held a genuine concern for either the student or her unborn child. Then there were the teenagers that jumped from one sexual encounter to the next. Are teenagers sexually active? Yes. Are some as active as the ones described in the book? Yes. Are all of them? No, yet, again, the book would lead you to believe that every teenager is sleeping with multiple partners in a week. Second, the whole issue of Christians dating non-Christians bothered me. Believe me, I’m not by any sense suggesting that Christian teens don’t have sex before marriage and suffer serious consequences, but I didn’t understand why the parents of these girls, who seemed to take such an interest in their daughters’ lives, weren’t insisting that they date only Christian boys. Third, and perhaps the biggest struggle I have with the book in terms of the story, is that the it doesn’t describe life after the baby is born. Not to minimize the struggles the young girl and her boyfriend experience during the pregnancy, but as difficult as that time was it would have been nothing compared to the impact of what life was like after the baby was born. Yet it glosses over that part of the story and almost leaves the impression of “happily ever after”.
Finally, there are some major theological misconceptions in the book regarding salvation. In the chapter “Saved” the book states that one discussion focused on “how Jesus saved everyone from their sins.” Yet the simple fact, Biblically speaking anyway, is that Jesus did not save everyone from their sins. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but the state the he saved everyone implies a universalism that just isn’t true. Similarly, the story at one point also states that one character “led the prayer that saved the souls” of another character, yet scripture teaches we are “by grace through faith” not that we are saved by a prayer. Perhaps this is all semantics, but I believe it’s important semantics because one who doesn’t understand the nature of sin, death, salvation, and live could walk away from reading this story with an incorrect understanding (which could have eternal significance). Just a couple of sentences after the previous quote one person actually asks the question of herself “How can she save him, too?” Again, people don’t save people, Jesus saves people.
I honestly can’t imagine that this book would dissuade a young person from becoming sexually active, and neither do I believe it would change one’s beliefs regarding abortion. As such, and because of all the reasons mentioned above, I can only give this book 1.5/5 stars.