“Choices” by T.R. Hamby is the story of Audrey who doesn’t fit into the conventional life pattern. The pattern that every woman is supposed to follow, and if she doesn’t, she gets to know what the declared broad-mindedness really means.
The truth is that although no one calls her offensive names, neither does she get a stigma burnt into her skin or a scarlet letter sewn onto her clothes, but still, everyone expects her to dream about certain things in life. Marriage, commitment, children. If she says that being unmarried and childless is her choice, she is labelled “desperate”.
The author manages to draw a vivid picture of Audrey’s life that is filled with a job that she loves, her friends that share her interests, yoga, and her cat (right, cats are another “true” sign of a “spinster”). It is absolutely obvious why Audrey is happy. Of course, she has her doubts and low moments, but it’s not like anyone irrespective of their marital status can skip that part, is it?
Audrey leads an active social life, and certainly, she meets a man she falls in love with. Her new relationship is bliss. But then, those around her again know better what she needs and what she should want.
The book made me think about many different things. The only right way to live your life is to follow your inner compass. “The society” will always disapprove no matter what choices you make. If you’re single, it’ll push you to enter a relationship. If you’re in a relationship, it’ll dictate how fast or slow this relationship should progress. If you don’t have children, it’ll search for hidden faults or motives to make you “a villain”, but if you have “too many” children and suddenly your financial circumstances change, it’ll turn you into “an irresponsible person”.
I might not agree with the choice that Audrey has eventually made, but everyone’s experiences in life are different, and what could have turned into a disaster for one person, for someone else can be the best thing they could have done to be happy.