Saturday, March 23, 2013

SUSAN: BOOK REVIEW - "Second Chances" by T.A. Webb

Mark Jennings is at a crossroads. His finance job in the Atlanta nonprofit scene stresses him out, his mother is dying, and his relationship with Brian Jacobs has crashed and burned. He needs a distraction, some way to relax, and a massage seems like just the thing. He never expected his massage therapist, Antonio Roberto, to become his best friend.

Despite their differences—Antonio is a divorced single father—the two men forge a firm friendship that weathers Mark’s reconciliation with Brian and Antonio’s questionable taste in women. Over the years, Antonio remains constant in his support, though others in Mark’s life come and go through a revolving door.

When a young boy runs away from the group home where he works, Mark finds another door opening. Through it all he holds on to the things his loved ones taught him—about family, about friends and lovers, about life and death. Most importantly, he realizes that sometimes the greatest gift of all is a second chance.

* I was sobbing for 1/3 of this book...uncontrollably. 
* I was drinking wine for 2/3 of this book...uncontrollably.
* I was getting my ass kicked for 3/3 of this book...uncontrollably. 

It‘s impossible for me to review “Second Chances” because honestly, it hits SO CLOSE to home that I have zero ability to see from any perspective except smack-dab in the middle of it. No story has ever felt so much like looking into a mirror (well, if that mirror reflected back a version of myself as a gay man! Ha!) And though I feel 100% connected to the character of Mark, I also see bits of myself (as well as bits of who I want to be) in Antonio, Brian, Mark’s Dad, even the boys sometimes. 

So many thoughts, emotions, and revelations came to me while reading that I felt overwhelmed...and more, life-affirming...

I can't say, nor do I care, whether the writing or the plot or the characterizations or the flow or even the mutherf’ing grammar were perfect or not. (I can't even question naked massages and sudden moves cross-country.)

For me, to me, within me...this is me (the me that I am, and the me I want to be). 

Thank you, T.A. Webb...Tom...for this.

This one cut deep...

Dear Mr. Webb…Tom…

I wanted to write to thank you so much for “Second Chances”. I can’t even express how deeply impacted I’ve been by this book. I’m sure you’ve read all the reviews…the book is emotional…and moving…and thought-provoking. For me…it was a reflection. 

I don’t know loss like Mark. 
I’m not a gay man like Mark.
I’m not even in a relationship like Mark.

But, I so related to Mark in ways that I am and ways that I want to be.

I am fiercely loyal like Mark.
I am desperate for affection and love like Mark.
I am a sensitive heart like Mark.
I put too much pressure on myself to be the rock for my family like Mark.
I am terrified of losing someone and being alone to deal with it like Mark.
I will kick someone’s ASS if they come after anyone I love like Mark.

I want to be forgiving like Mark…especially after having faced betrayal – to love even deeper after having forgiven.
I want to be understanding like Brian…in that I don’t want to have to be the sole source of support and love for the man I will (one day) be in a relationship with.
I want to be a friend like Antonio.
I want to honestly speak out my desires and needs like Robbie. 

I recently read JP Barnaby’s Little Boy Lost series and something struck deep inside me with the character of Brian. An itch began to nag at me and soon I knew I wanted to explore the possibility of being a foster parent. I have so much love to give and there are so many kids out there that need it. 

Reading Second Chances solidified that for me. Robbie and his desire just to be accepted and to have a HOME, his desperation for it, that made me certain. I don’t know how or what the next steps are…I’ve only just begun to think of the types of lifestyle changes that I as a workaholic single woman living in NY city would have to make. But I want this…I need this…

Anyways…I’m babbling. 

I just wanted to reach out to you and…I don’t even know…just let you know that I think I will be a better person for having read “Second Chances”. Cheesy…but I couldn’t be more certain of truth. 



  1. Lovely letter Susan... very heartfelt and emotional, I just want to give you a hug <3

  2. Very moving, Susan. I hope the author sees this. He needs to!

    1. Yeah... :) I sent it to him. He even posted on his FB page! I'm a huge fan of his...HUGE!

  3. Great review, Suze. I'm really happy you reached out to the author, too—sometimes all a writer needs to know is that someone hears him. I can't wait to read this.