The Season of Second Chances Hardcover – 3 May 2010
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"The strong characters, believable situations, fine writing, and great storytelling make for a remarkably compelling book."--Booklist "Sure to be much-loved and often-shared, this graceful, funny novel nudges its characters and readers toward self renewal, change, and a chance for greater happiness. ... Diane Meier's liberating novel values both the arcane scholarship of college professors and the practical, artistic insights of handymen and real estate agents. Like "The Secret Life Of Bees," this brave, warm novel suggests that for a person who has the courage to seize a second chance, there's also the opportunity for a rewarding third chance, or fourth, of fifth..."--Sena Jeter Naslund, author of "Ahab's Wife "and" Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette""Diane Meier's novel has it all: a narrator with a voice as knowing, acerbic, and funny as the best of Ephron; a plot that keeps you avidly turning the pages, and a character about as tender, touching, and exasperating as any I can recall encountering outside of real life. I loved it."--John Colapinto, author of "About the Author""Sophisticated, original, erudite, and with observations that are simultaneously profound, precise, and surprisingly funny."--Sara Pritchard, author of "Crackpots" "As in an old house, you will encounter all manner of surprises on Joy's journey and I promise, they will keep you reading far too late in the evening to be sensible."--Katherine Lanpher, author of "Leap Days: Chronicles of a Midlife Move"
About the Author
Diane Meier is the author of "The New American Wedding" and president of Meier, a New York City-based marketing firm. Her career spans from writing and design to public speaking. This is her first novel. Meier lives in New York City and Litchfield, Connecticut.
Top Customer Reviews
I do that sometimes after experiencing a great movie, opera, musical or book. When something touches me profoundly, I want it all to myself. Talking or writing about it somehow takes the shine off my new found treasure. And then there is that Bridget Jones insecurity tapping me on the shoulder telling me that my review could never give it due justice, or I would gush about it so much that people will think I am nuts. Well, more nuts.
So, I have been holding it in savoring my selfish indulgence until this week when I read Ms. Meier's poignant commentary on publishing, media and buyers perceptions of literature vs. chick-lit in the Huffington Post. I was miffed. Not only had her charming book received positive reviews from all sectors, it also garnered some not so complementary criticisms from those who wanted to classify it as chick-lit because its forty-something female protagonist renovates her home, and the cover has flowers on it. Flowers? Flowers now disqualify books from being literature and earmark them as chick-lit? Conversely, one reader review on Amazon hated it because it wasn't chick-lit! Go Figure! Like her sharp, funny and insightful book Diane had the perfect come-back to this dilemma.
"Okay, I wanted to respond, I'm sorry that you're disappointed, but it's like trying to blame a hot dog for not being ice cream."
"What I didn't see was that the chick-lit argument had landed squarely on my doorstep.
Was "The Season of Second Chances" Chick Lit or not? That, in itself, became the general theme of most reviews, professional and consumer.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Joy Harkness (who is 48) takes a huge job leap from a Manhattan college (Columbia) to Amherst College in western Massachusetts. She joins a group of professors wanting to transform the method of teaching Shakespeare, but that's just a sideline in the story. The real story involves her getting involved, in buying and restoring a house, in socializing with her office mates, in learning to feel and relate. Her trials at this are both touching and hilarious. The other main character, Teddy, the handyman genius who is transforming her house has his own hard and crazy story. He dropped out of school to support his mother and Joy attempts to transform him are a major part of the story. Get ready for a major mother/son disfunction here.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The characters, from the secretarial temps to the bachelor professors who make a play for Joy are so well and humorously described. Hopefully this won't be the author's last book. I want to read much more.
This novel is peppered throughout with funny characters that are well written and imagined by the author. And the main protagonist is likeable but more important than that, she's highly believable. I think if you've ever made a major life change you can relate to this and if you want to live vicariously through someone else's bravery about making life changes, this is the story for you. This author has an easy to read style of writing and I very much appreciated that. It's easy to get into this book and then thoroughly enjoy it along the way because of this. I know firsthand that second chances are real and this book just reitterates that reality so well.
Have you ever read a book that at the end of each chapter you would count the pages of the next chapter just to see if you had time to keep reading? I just finished The Season of Second Chances and my world stopped for two days. For two days I did nothing but sneak a chapter here and sneak a chapter there. I was hooked and hooked hard!
The Season of Second Chances is a story about Joy Harkness a 48 year old literary professor who is asked to take a new job in a new town. Joy thinks nothing of moving and finds herself buying and restoring a rundown Victorian. In comes Teddy Hennessy, the town's handyman, to help Joy restore her new home. I was surprised at my feelings of trust toward Joy. When I realized that her vantage point could not always be trusted, I found myself mad at her and emotionally invested in her well-being. But more than these two characters, Diane Meier writes a story that is clever and funny. It is a story of personal growth, taking chances, finding your way in life and when tragedy strikes Joy and her new friends, this becomes a story about family.
My favorite quote from the book comes from Joy "But my vantage point was perhaps, too close to the shore to see that I had, at last, begun to swim toward my own life" (page 162).
My mind was like a movie, playing out each eloquently written sentence, scene by scene. Even now my mind still drifts to Joy and her life. I was left wanting more and will continue to follow Diane Meier.
I loved this book and so will you.
A special thank you to Evelyn Frison & Diane Meier for allowing me the opportunity to read this story from my mind and heart. This book was given to me by Evelyn Frison in exchange for my honest opinion.
Harkness is 48 years old and looking at a big life change. Years ago she had a
marriage that failed. She then moved to New York City and lived there for
15 years as a university professor. She never became at home there. And she
missed out on much of life.
As the book begins, she moves to be a professor at Amherst College in
Massachusetts. She will there be involved with a fascinating educational
project. She needs to find a new place to live. Her NYC place sells quickly and
for a high price. Money is not a problem for her.
In Massachusetts she is drawn to a house that needs to be completely fixed
up and remodeled. It's not her type of thing at all--and yet she is drawn
to it. She buys it.
The man who does the work on the house for her becomes very important in
her life. The people she gets to know through work are very different from
those she has known before in life, and she becomes different.
The author is very savvy about style, and the descriptions of things in
Joy's house as they develop, clothing, other people's homes, places she
visits on trips--are rich and satisfying. The changes in Joy are meaningfully
expressed, and she makes some good decisions.
I think a lot of people will want more of Joy's story. It would be great
to read about her becoming more and more involved with other people and
blossoming more. Perhaps the author will write that someday.