A Novel of Second Choices, Second Chances
Emotion-Packed Fiction From a Bestselling Author
Stephen Whittaker had determined never to be like his dad, someone he considered a loser in every way. Stephen had distanced himself from those early years in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and it was working--an Ivy League education, a great job offer with a New York law firm, and an engagement ring and the proposal all worked out for lovely, talented Alice...
Losing Alice meant that everything changed for Stephen. Back in Aberdeen, he tried to pick up the pieces of his life again. He married his best friend and had a precocious, charming daughter. He went into business and was making big money. It looked like he had things back in hand.
The gradual downward spiral came so slowly he didn't see the signs--and then it was too late... Or was it? If only he could turn the clock back...
In this frustrating faith-based novel, Lewis teeters on the edge of a good story, only to sabotage his narrative with weak prose, nagging implausibilities and inadequate explanations of characters' motivation. Told in the first person by Stephen, a 36-year-old husband, father and stockbroker in Aberdeen, S.D., the story begins as an explication of his special bond with his daughter, Alycia. When Alycia persuades him to tell her a painful story from his past, however, the novel turns unrelentingly bleak. As Stephen narrates his downfall, he comes off as a hapless man who makes a series of regrettable choices into which he has very little insight. While Stephen briefly describes what he did to alienate his family, he portrays himself predominantly as a good, if absent-minded, husband and father. As such, his family's crisis, like most of the novel's significant plot developments, ends up making very little sense. In the last 40 pages, the novel takes an interesting turn toward magical realism. This the strongest part of the story, and it sheds light on what Lewis has unsuccessfully attempted.