Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Season of Second Chances by Diane Meier

The Season of Second Chances by Diane Meier (Rated: P and S)
Henry Holt and Company
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9081-9
Published April 2010
Hardcover, 304 pages

This is the story of Joy Harkness, a university professor who led an empty life—camouflaged by a successful career—and finally took the opportunity to change it and learned to live more fully. The cover and the synopsis attracted me to this book; however, the opening chapters did not hook me. The author’s writing style took some getting used to, as it was full of comparisons I could not relate to.

I debated if I wanted to continue reading it, and I stuck to my rule of reading the first fifty pages. As I continued reading, it suddenly got interesting and I finished it easily. I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked the changes that took place in Joy, the way she took a chance doing things she never would have done before. The best part for me was seeing the transformation of the old run-down Victorian house she bought and how this represented the changes that were taking place within her and her life. It’s true there is a lot of description in this book, some of which I found necessary in reference to the house and others which I did not.

I thought the minor character of Bernadette was given too much place in the story when I would have liked to see more regarding Donna and her family. The children seemed to have adapted too well (with almost no repercussions) to witnessing their mother being bludgeoned to near-death by their father, and none of this was explored in the story. It seemed too unrealistic to me, almost as if it was concocted merely to advance the plot. I was also not impressed that Joy's friends encouraged her involvement with Will, a shallow man and obvious womanizer.

What irked me about Joy’s behaviour was the casual use of sex, rendering it simply an act of physical attraction rather than an expression of intimate and profound love between a committed couple. She fell into a relationship with her emotionally stunted mamma’s-boy handyman, Teddy Hennessy, and I had a hard time figuring out what their relationship was based on. They reminded me of two teenagers, but then again, seeing how they were both missing the mature emotional growth that comes during later adolescence perhaps this was a reflection of that.

The writer in me tells me that there is much underlying in this book, but I was distracted throughout and could not relate to any of the characters. I did like the ending, though, and it was perfect for this story.

Disclosure: Thank you to Evelyn for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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  1. Well, you've made me curious about the ending!

  2. A wife almost dying at the hands of her husband should have impacted the children to at least warrant a subplot within this novel. The introduction of causal sex is a cheap device for reader attention often employed by writers and serves little in the way of advancing the novel. A good title and cover with a well written synopsis will not deliver if the story is not well organized and if it lacks the ability to bond the reader to the characters. A disorganized plot wherein one reads information unnecessary to the plot and is therefore hard to follow does not a novel make. As for Joy's friends encouraging her to try out 'Will the Womanizer' well, some friends. We are back to the beginning. It has a nice cover and synopsis.

  3. Thanks for linking to my review! It does look like we have a difference in opinion on The Season of Second Chances. I really enjoyed Joy's story and growth throughout the novel. I thought Donna's story did get a lot of time in the novel, but it was not the main story. Donna's story could almost be a different book on its own.


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