Sunday, January 15, 2012

review: the season of second chances by diane meier

In The Season of Second Chances, a nearing 50 college professor gets the chance to revamp her life when she accepts a teaching position at Amherst after spending a number of years at Columbia. Even as I read, I debated whether or not I like the book. Joy and the other others at Amherst are so completely pompous that they are entirely unappealing; yet Joy is aware that she has not previously put in the effort needed to create and maintain relationships. This awareness seems to cause Joy to go too far in the opposite direction though as she quickly accepts one marriage proposal then launches a campaign to fix-up the man who is renovating her house. At times I thought the author, Diane Meier, might be making a commentary on academia, but then there were subplots that did nothing to forward that commentary. Those subplots were a distraction that simply filled pages. There really was little point to the department secretary being on maternity leave other than it providing Joy with a rotating cast of secretaries to criticize. The storyline involving a battered woman primarily served to show Joy's inexperience with children (she and the others at Amherst took care of the woman's children while she was hospitalized). In the end there was nothing to push me over the edge one way or the other; The Season of Second Chances was interesting enough, but it couldn't have been far better.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Henry Holt and Co.

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