So I already knew going in that this proved to be a tough, emotional read for some people.
And yes, it was for me too. When Brian died. Mostly because the circumstances hit very close to home.
I've only read one short story by T.A. Webb before this and I find I like his writing style. Nothing fancy, just very straightforward, clear, and blunt.
This is a book with two love stories...spanning 10 years, and told episodically (This may or not work for you, because I did find myself constantly flipping back to see how much time passed since the last chapter). I appreciated the long time span because I felt it devoted the right amount of time to each stage in Mark’s life his life with Brian, and then with Antonio . That’s all I feel like mentioning plot-wise. This is something you will just have to completely experience yourself.
I did have some trepidations starting Second Chances because of all the high praise, didn’t want to be one of the odd ones out. But I’m glad I can say it didn’t fail my expectations.
Second Chances works because for some of us it’s so easy to relate to these characters, their experiences, and their losses. It may not have been a life-changing read for me like it was for others, but it was life-affirming.
Despite all that, I have reasons why I couldn’t give 5 stars, and they mostly occurred in the last 10% of the book. Mark arriving in the midst of Antonio suddenly packing for California. It was such an ass decision of Antonio’s (and while I understand his reasons, it still came out of nowhere) that it brought me out of the story. In my head I was thinking, Really, Antonio? How did you THINK Mark and your son would react when you just start packing for California with no heads up? My other niggle was the money windfall. It was a really sweet gesture, Antonio buying Mark that house. But I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at the sudden news of Apple purchasing his company and then becoming multimillionaires. Yes okay, it does happen. And I am a pessimist. But here, it just helped add to the somewhat jarring departure from the rest of the story. Gave it a fairy tale feel . Maybe it might not have bothered me so much if it didn’t feel like these life-changing events just all got dumped within the last 10%. Maybe it would have worked if we had more time to see and accept/adjust to these changes, more of a gradual process.
Regardless, Second Chances is still many, many steps above your average M/M read. It's a deceivingly simple story about life, love, and family that definitely won't be forgotten by me any time soon.