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Alexander's Choice

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Sweet-natured, intelligent and good-looking, thirteen-year-old aristocrat Alexander Aylmer seems to have everything going for him when he goes to Eton, the prestigious English public school. Within months, however, tragedy strikes, leaving him vulnerable, heartbroken and increasingly alone, forced to find his own emotional salvation in a world that is effectively uncaring ...more
Paperback, 422 pages
Published December 12th 2012 by Createspace
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  65 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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John Hamilton
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is, without a shadow of a doubt, a beautifully written novel, deeply moving, sometimes erotic, with characters which the author invests with a real psychological depth. The novel follows the course of a sensitive, intelligent and lively Eton schoolboy, thirteen-year-old Alexander Aylmer, as he forms romantic attachments to two others, firstly, Julian, a more senior pupil, and then Damian, a schoolmaster. There is little doubt that the author will be the subject of much opprobrium for this m ...more
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the two best books I've ever read. Also the saddest one. There is no respite, no happy ending. Not even a gain is realized for anyone, at the end. In fact things get even worse for all involved. I only finished it yesterday and I'm finding myself not wanting to think too deeply about it today. It's too fresh in my mind right now; too intense still. It is just too sad. Throughout the book you are drawn in to love one of the characters and that character is the one I find difficult to think ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Haydn Corper
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When reading this book, I was already thinking that I would write a review of it and about what I would write. There are two aspects to this book that I thought should be reviewed separately, but the extremely powerful closing chapters have made this division less clear in my mind.

Firstly it is a work of fiction, the story of a great love and a heartbreaking and enraging tragedy. Alexander Aylmer is a extremely beautiful, intelligent and sensitive 13 then 14 year old boy student at Eton c
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings

This extraordinary book recaptures like no other I have read recently how it feels to be a young, passionate, impulsive teenager: confused and thoroughly misunderstood in a world of dreary adults.

The powerful emotions portrayed here are not, like Wordsworth's, recollected in tranquillity but in a maelstrom of hormonal turbulence.

The story is simultaneously easy to read but desperately hard to endure, told in simple
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Five stars. One of the greatest books I have ever read, but I would never recommend it to anyone because the ending was so painful. I am still crying when I think of it.
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
The book was clearly written with energy and dedication and I would be interested in understanding the author's inspiration.

It is a subject requiring a delicate touch and the author was sensitive to this.

I have two minor grumbles: pace and euphemism.

The unevenness of pace was problematical for the reader: poetical indulgences slowed the first half and the dramatic sequences at the end were too rushed to be appreciated.

The scenes with the lovers were spoiled by the use of archaic e
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it

To echo other reviewers, a difficult subject handled well.

I admired the author's shifts in POV throughout the story, which made for a rich read. (Many readers complain about "head-popping" in books, which baffles me. We have the ability to follow multiple POVs in film and television--perhaps the maximum being HBO's adaptation of Game of Thrones anyone?--so I don't understand why it's so jarring to so many readers when the same happens in books).

I couldn't rate th
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading 'Alexander's Choice' greatly, especially for its absorbing me in the life of its characters. It got to the point where I was viscerally scared or frustrated or elated at various times and sometimes had to put the book down to recover my emotions. I really felt for the characters and the author does a fabulous job of making them well-rounded with interesting backstories that don't distract so that their motivations are understandable and I felt empathy even for those whose actio ...more
Tim wood
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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David Burkam
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
I enjoyed reading this novel, but it's worth noting what the book is not.

The book is not a gay coming-of-age story. In fact, the book is actively and curiously anti-gay throughout most of the text. It's the common error of pleading for social tolerance while demonstrating very little social tolerance in its own right.

The characters are not always believable or well drawn. At times they are shockingly naive and ignorant (especially given that the story in set in the early 1980s). And t
Louis Dubé
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I guess I have been spoiled by some school/college movies (and a Simpsons episode) that end with a « Where are they now ». My inner Annie Wilkes won't rest until I can read what happens to Julian Smith later on in his life. He is in his late forties and I need to know if he has found some peace of mind and if he can let go of the past. Mr. Marlowe, please, please, please...
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having noticed this book recommended on a blog I read regularly, and seen gushing reviews here on amazon, and in the London Review of Books. I ordered it. Though initially put off by the author's overtly nostalgic and precious tone. Superficially enjoyed this novel. In places, I found it quite moving, and highly evocative of life at Eton in the early '80s, it's been hailed as “Eton's Fifty Shades of Gray” and described as so highly accurate by old boys, that it must have been written by an ex-pu ...more
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story realistically presented. Not the most optimistic story of this sort, unfortunately. Many of these stories exist that don't end happily. I would love to see a more of these intricate dispellings of the concept of man-boy love that opt to not demonize anyone - but rather humanize from all sides. While one could argue that Marlowe here writes in a voice that garners a sense of curiosity or mystery, one mustn't forget that such a love is considered worthy of death from the perspectiv ...more
Amanda Kendall
The thing is, it had a lot of potential as a narrative. I really wanted to like it. But it was clearly black-and-white propaganda and the obviousness of this attempt really took away from the points it was trying to get across.

There was also a lesser problem with the pacing. Trivial explanations and unimportant character backgrounds (like Julian's mother) dragged on and on while the important parts were so rushed you could barely care about them and they came across as melodramatic rather than
Shay Edwards
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking, but ultimately an incomplete coverage of a difficult subject.
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-fiction
Difficult review—Pending

7 of 10 stars
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A difficult subject, but very well written.
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Jul 15, 2016
rated it did not like it
Jun 24, 2014
Rebecca Mills
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Jul 24, 2014
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Aug 05, 2017
Richard Plantagenet
rated it it was amazing
Jul 17, 2013
Alan Chalmers
rated it it was amazing
Oct 21, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2013
Peter Loudon
rated it it was amazing
Oct 13, 2015
Andrew H
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Jun 12, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Feb 10, 2016
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Daring and poignant...a controversial but worthwhile read for me.
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