Choose Me
Xenia Ruiz
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Choose Me

Xenia Ruiz
Walk Worthy Press
384 pages
June 2005
rated 5 of 5 possible stars
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What an enjoyable novel! Choose Me by Xenia Ruiz is the story of two people whose lives cross and who seem to be destined to end up together. Eva is forty-ish, part Puerto Rican and part African American, and has a strong faith in God. She has two sons, Tony and Eli, the result of a short-lived marriage. The two young men are the apples of their motherís eye. Both are now in college and live on campus but come home occasionally to visit with mom. Eva currently is single, and five years ago she vowed celibacy, promising that she will no longer participate in casual sex, saving herself for the man she will some day marry - if she ever marries again.

Adam is an African American single man who believes in God but confesses that he no longer believes in the power of prayer and does not set foot inside a church anymore. He dresses like he's homeless and has not had sex in a few years because of health reasons, which includes a scare from cancer. When the two meet at a party given by one of Eva's good friends, Adam likes what he sees, but Eva is not happy that she's being set up. She does not want anything to do with any man and is tired of her friends trying to find boyfriends for her.

In the meantime, Eva's sister Maya is living on dangerous ground. She's married to Alex and they have children, but Maya is currently spending a lot of time with an ex-flame Luciano, who is also married. Maya calls him her ďfriendĒ, but Eva (and Maya) know it's only time before those two go to bed together, and Eva is very concerned about her sister. Maya wants Eva to accept Luciano in their lives, but Eva refuses to play the game.

Eva's best friend is Simone, an up-and-coming actress, a very promiscuous woman who currently has two men in her life. It is at Simone's party that Eva meets Adam, who happens to be a close friend of Luciano. Choose Me is told from the viewpoints of both Adam and Eva in alternating chapters that tell at length the story of their lives and struggles. Xenia Ruiz does a wonderful job with these two characters, as with the minor ones. All of these personalities come to life as we learn about their pasts and how they became the people they are today. The reader watches as Adam and Eva (the two characters see the joke of their names and are not sure they think itís funny that their friends think they should become a pair) flirt and tease, but it is always Eva who pulls back, saying that the first man in her life is GOD and that she cannot be involved with a man who does not have God in his own life.

When tragedy hits Eva's family, it is time to bring out the Kleenex as she tries to keep her faith in God when the worst thing that could ever happen to a mother happens to her. One canít say enough about Choose Me and the two lives that this author created so she could tell a story about having faith in God when the chips are down. Xenia Ruiz is a gifted writer and I hope to read more by her. She did a great job taking the reader into the lives of these fictional characters, making them real enough that one will clearly relate to them as if they were real in-the-flesh people. Highly recommended.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Marie Hashima Lofton, 2005

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