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Monday, March 01, 2010

A Season of Second Chances

Meier, Diane.  The Season of Second Chances.

An ARC (thanks, Leah) by debut author Diane Meier, The Season of Second Chances is about an English professor at Columbia who, given the unexpected opportunity to leave the security and staleness of one job and accept a position with Amherst, makes the leap. The new program is a the brain child of Bernadette Lowell and requires an innovative approach to teaching, so not only is a change in location involved, but a new curriculum to be formulated and developed.

From the first unlikely decision, comes a series uncharacteristic decisions by academic Joy Harkness.  She buys an old house  in dire need of repair and renovation, and slowly, almost unconsciously (almost unwillingly) begins renovating her own attitudes, perceptions, and opinions.  Steered by a number of interesting characters, a woman stuck in a rut largely of her own making begins opening up to a new world of possibilities. 

The possibilities involved in taking chances can have repercussions, however; Joy must learn to live with a few of these as well.

I enjoyed the book.  It didn't always hold together in what one would expect in the real world, but I was happy to relax and enjoy the world created by the author.  The Three Coyotes who pursue every new woman on campus provide a little humor; a mother whose former husband refuses to let go provides drama.

What I liked best had to do with the author's style, especially in the beginning as she sets up Joy's character and circumstances.  The voice is first person, and the reader realizes that  much of what Joy has to say is bitter, much is funny, and much is slightly unreliable.

It is a coming of age story, but the coming of age has waited until the heroine is nearly 50.

fiction.  contemporary fiction.  2010.  285 pages.


  1. This sounds really cute - I like the idea that we can still grow up and make changes even if we're not in our teens and twenties! :-)

  2. Lesleyk - It is nice to feel like change is always a possibility!

  3. A fifty-yer-old woman stuck in a rut. I think I'd better read this book and see if I get a push.

  4. Sounds interesting in a way, and I do like that last sentence of yours

  5. Framed - I like seeing lives changed when least expected!

    Blodeuedd - It was kind of fun to see the transformation!