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Simon's Choice

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  762 ratings  ·  82 reviews
"But Daddy, who will live with me in heaven?" Doctor Simon Bailey has everything a man could ever want. Then his beautiful daughter is diagnosed with Leukemia. He can almost accept her impending death. He can almost accept the fact that he will have to live without her. But he cannot stand the thought of his little girl having to face death alone. He answers her innocent ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 10th 2010 by Night Publishing
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  762 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Pros: I found the story believeable and realistic. I loved the witty one liners. I enjoyed the family dynamics and the characters were really well written.

Cons: The way the dialogue was written got on my nerves. It was a bit too predictable and for me lacked some of the emotion for such a heavy subject manner.
Marissa Dobson
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
Simon's Choice is an intense and heartbreaking look into families who are affected by a child's terminal illness. This family has been through treatments, periods of remission, and sadly the leukemia came back again and this time there would be no remission.

Simon's daughter Sarah has terminal leukemia. Simon, with all his medical training, is helpless and unable to protect the one person he loved more than life itself, Simon turns to alcohol to numb the pain. I could only imagine the pain and
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read the first part of Simon's Choice on the writer's site, Authonomy, and once I could get my hot little hands on it, read the book in two nights. That's how good it was for me. The premise is so clever. It's such a ridiculously illogical answer to give a child, particularly when you think that most parents will try not to lie, just give the answer as tactfully as possible. But how on earth would you answer a child's desperate and scared plea for a hand to hold in the unknown world to which ...more
Nov 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
According to my e-reader, I read 3% of this book.

I expected to love this book. I expected it to grab me and hold my attention - given the ratings.

The descriptions of Sarah excelled - "He flinched as her face crumpled with pity as she took in Sarah's head, her skull looking as fragile as a bird's in its pinkly naked state."

However, I was disappointed. I did not expect it to make me feel like I was wasting my time.

As a RN, I care. I have worked on oncology floors and have worked with parents
Tim Roux
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The topic of a seven year old child dying of leukemia could have come across almost as insufferably as the fictional tragedy itself, but in Ms. Castle's hands it doesn't. It comes over exceptionally powerfully, warmly, movingly, provocatively, inevitably.

There were times I could have hugged the characters and others when I could have thrown a very sharp plate at Melissa, which means that this book probably works just as well for men as for women.

This is a really involving book which is as much
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is am amazing story to read. You take a break from your real like to live with Simon as he goes on his journey while his daughter is dieing of cancer. Simon has told his daughter that he will go to Heaven with her. He then has to make a decision as his life is falling to pieces around him, if he will take his life to be with his daughter Sarah, or if he will continue in life. Once you start this book, its going to be impossible to put down. You feel so much emotion in this book. Be sure to ...more
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a great book. Even though it wasn't a tear-jerker for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The main character, Simon, was someone I connected with on a deep level. His daughter is dying and her parents and grandparents must come to terms with it. The ending was such a nice surprise that I was happy at the ending.
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very touching and entirely believable.
L. Carrington
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you haven't read this, you should!
Stacie (BTR)
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Words to describe this book: intense, well-written, imaginative, developed, sad. I try not to read truly sad novels that often. This definitely left me holding my breath and with a heavy heart.
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simon’s Choice by Charlotte Castle is a wondrous ride through the comedy and terrible tragedy of family life and death. The dialog’s spot-on, from careless remark, to kindly encouragement, to condemnation and despair. The background is picture-perfect England. The characters are entirely believable, and the agony all too real. It’s a novel that will leave you crying at the end, and remembering forever. If you want to know how you would feel if a child were dying, if you want to know why “I’m ...more
Book Review originally published here:

Simon’s Choice is a heart-wrenching, time-stopping novel that brought me to the edge of tears. It’s drama at its finest, showing us the darkest sides of life, but doing so in a convincing way.

Simon’s daughter has been diagnosed with Leukemia. She’s been in remission for a while, but now the illness is back and more destructive than ever. He’s a doctor and blames himself for not noticing her symptons right away. When
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simon's Choice If you are looking for a book that is going to have an emotional impact on you, then this is it.

Charlotte Castle's "Simon's Choice" is a narrative that explores the impact of child leukaemia on a middle-class British family. While the blurb sounded interesting, I was concerned the story would be delivered in an overly sentimental way. However, it wasn't.

Castle portrays the family of Simon, Melissa and Sarah with compassion and credibility. She draws the reader into their world
Sudama Panigrahi
May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“Papa…with whom I’ll stay in the heaven? Does it hurt dying, papa?” asks a dying seven years old daughter Sarah to her father Simon.

Can a father answer these questions? Can he wait for death of his lovely Sarah? Can he love his wife Mellissa? Can the 12 years of marriage withstand the gradual tilt of attention away from the wife?

Want answers to these questions…read Simon’s Choice: a brilliant novel of difference, away from genre. This book has everything, love, hatred, passion, simplicity,
Beth Peninger
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Castle's book gets 3 stars for how she handles the grief a parent must go through when they are faced with the terminal illness of their child. She does a decent job of painting the picture of what grief looks and feels like in the face of a child's death. For my personal taste she gets points off for the unnecessary use of language. What is it with British authors and their love of vulgar language? And most times unnecessary? Sure a person grieving may slip in a word or two every now and then ...more
Joanne Sexton
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I was a little apprehensive about reading Charlotte’s book. Would I feel far to empathetic and find the subject of a child’s death and imagining how it would be as a parent, too difficult?

Regardless I turned to page 1. Two days later I have finished this brilliant book. This story has it all, emotion, light hearted moments and ultimately, although it is surrounded by death, has a ‘happy’ ending which left me smiling and it was a total surprise.

I felt angry at Melissa for being so spiteful. I was
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I gave this book 4.5 stars.

This book is absolutely heartbreaking. The loss of a young child is something that no parent should ever have to endure. Unfortunately, it does in fact happen. I have personally dealt with the loss of a child as the result of a tragic accident. I cannot fathom watching a child die a long death from a horrific disease. It was bad enough watching my father go through something like that.

Simon and his wife have gone through varying degrees of devotion over the course of
Rosalind Minett
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a brave and a convincing novel. At first I thought it had been written by a man finding himself in that heart-rending position.

I think that anyone who cares about children and about families will find this hard to read. If it were more sentimental and less hard-hitting it would be easier - but not such a good book.

There are moments of intense pain portrayed clearly and others where the reader wonders if another parent might react differently.

A good book, to my mind, has to be
Mr Madelaine
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
I felt compelled to leave a review for this book, having read some of the other reviews and wondering if we read the same book. I was attracted by the premise but expected somewhat more than was to become available to me between these covers. There are difficult issues here which could/should have been explored in much greater detail and I feel short changed by the experience. The book moves forward in a quite predictable vicarious kind of way, never really connecting with the characters, but ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good for a free kindle book but not fantastic. Simon and Melanie have a very sick child, Sarah. Sarah's leukemia in the beginning of the story is in remission. Of course, it gets worse...ugh. Tough subject matter dealt with very gingerly. Simon, who is a doctor, feels he should be able to heal her. Poor guy. I felt so bad for him. His daughter is dying, his wife left him and he's drinking too much. Who couldn't feel bad for him? And he's considering suicide! I'll leave some details out, in case ...more
May 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
I love my kids so fiercely that I cannot imagine them being struck by such terrible disease. However, I have witnessed my mom fade away from us the same way as Sarah did so I was expecting the book to hit close to home. To my disappointment, it did not.

The one and only time it became a page turner for me was the part when Simon was unjustifiably treated as an insane man by those around him, thrown out of the house and almost barred from seeing his daughter who by the way, was only days away from
Sarah Ketley
A book that has received higher reviews than i have given it.

Don't get me wrong, i loved this book by the end. I loved it at the beginning. The middle, well, while i understood and appreciated the raw emotions, i was still frustrated with the characters. So i guess my 3 stars of because i was annoyed at the characters rather than the writing quality.

The characters were well portrayed and the conclusion as fitting as it needed to be.

I really enjoyed this book, just not sure i could go through
C.E. Jr.
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Simon's Choice is an emotional journey and Charlotte Castle deals with the subject matter in a marvelous way. Her characters are well rounded and believable. Through them she connects the reader to the story. Though there is an obvious need for drama in a book which focuses on childhood leukemia, the story isn't weighted down by the drama. Filled with touching and lighthearted moments, the story moves fluidly. I truly found this book to be one which I couldn't put down. I wasn't sure how Ms. ...more
Simon's Choice is a excellent novel, I just can't say enough good things about it. I found it by chance on Smashwords right after I had purchased my Nook with only 2 reviews (both 5 stars by the way).
This story immediately gripped me. You have two loving parents and one little girl, and all of them are facing an imminent death (the little girl's). She's their only child and doesn't want to die alone, so she asks her daddy if he will go with her to Heaven.
Thus begins a stormy story of how a
S. Burke
How do you review a book such as this? A book that punches you in the gut and leaves you hungry for air.

Charlotte Castle has written this piece with such warmth, the characters become our friends, and together we watch and listen as they tear each other apart. The imminent death of a beloved child finally and ruthlessly slashing it's dreadful way through the shaking remains of their marriage.

Not maudlin, as it could well have been. The authors talented pen takes you beyond that easy route into
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
the day after finishing the book, i still seem to be in two minds about it. i really liked the first third or so, but i must say i became a bit impatient with the characters in the middle. sure, i don't know what it's like to have a dying child (and hope i never find out!), but the two adults seemed increasingly selfish, bitchy, self-righteous, and some parts appeared repetitive. it got better again towards the end, and i loved the description on the final pages. all in all, good read, easy ...more
Mar 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the read as it was easy and the topic is certainly easy to connect with (as a parent or anyone who loves children) with minimal effort from the author. Yet left greatly dissatisfied at the end as the gravity of the topic and the characters state of minds left hanging in my opinion. We were just starting to see Simon and fully understand his journey through losing a child. And just like that it was over. I'm not saying it needed a long drawn out ending but it was sadly lacking closure and ...more
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a poignant story about a family struggling to come to terms with the impending death of their terminally ill daughter. Simon, Melissa, and their daughter Sarah, were the perfect family until Sarah was diagnosed with cancer. Just when they think Sarah is out of the woods the cancer returns and Sarah is given just weeks to live. Simon and Melissa's world slowly unravels as Sarah's health declines. I really enjoyed how the author explored the family's coping mechanisms throughout the ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While dealing with the pretty tough topic of a child dying from leukemia, the author mainly focused on the emotions of the parents. From self marital the questioning of faith in depression; the author takes you through what, I would think, would be typical for parents dealing with the impending loss of their child. I found the book to be enlightening and I definitely recommend it. An added bonus for me is that it was a free ...more
Laura of Lurking
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Heart breaking and an incredible read, this book dealt with something we all fear in a frank and realistic way. It had me laughing and crying, really feeling for the characters at every step of the journey. Right up until the last couple of pages I really felt the ending could swing either way and still be believable, the mark of a true writer. The medical scenes were also handled expertly.

Grab the tissues and a quiet corner to read in, you won't want to be disturbed
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Review at 1 6 Jul 23, 2010 12:26PM  
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