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★★★★☆

“Choke ”

Written on: 27/07/2006 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

Choke
Darnella Ford
St. Martin's, Jul 2006, $13.95
ISBN: 0312348037

Vanessa fell in love with David Claville, but though they married and he seemed to share her deepest regard, he suffers from a birth defect of being unable to stay erect whenever he meets a female. Unable to live with his philandering, Vanessa has separated from David. She lives in a low-income housing dump in El Mirage, Arizona, a dust bowl thirty minutes form Phoenix where she raises her "old soul" twelve year old daughter Kennedy in a dangerous loser's environment.

Vanessa lives from check to check as a housekeeper to a wretched, elderly and lonely Miss Gregory. However, she suddenly needs one grand because her talented offspring has an opportunity to escape their miserable environs where they have witnessed a murder and hear their neighbors going at it all night. The Milligan School has accepted Kennedy as a piano student, but the only problem is coming up with one thousand dollars and Vanessa no longer has a job (as Miss Gregory passed away) to pay her bills let alone the school's fee. Pondering her options Vanessa concludes she has one saleable commodity: herself.

This is an interesting character study of a woman willing to do almost anything including selling herself so that her beloved child has a chance for a better life. Vanessa is a super protagonist willing to Choke on a male to insure that Kennedy has an opportunity. Though the dilemma is to easily resolved readers will appreciate this mother who shows that morality is not a simple righteous up or down vote.

Harriet Klausner

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