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.
The title of this book was prevalent through-out the entire story....not just in the giving but also in the receiving of a second chance. The style in which this book was written read very much like a journal for me and it made the feelings that I experienced so much more real. The large jumps through time gave the book a much longer feel and gave me a sense of "knowing" these character's for years and becoming completely invested in their lives.
I liked Mark's character from the very beginning. He was caring and supportive and his sense of family is so strong. Anyone who has lost a loved one through a long illness can understand the stress and sometimes anger that he felt. Mark will be one of those character's that I will carry with me for a long time.
I had my reservations about Antonio at first. I kept waiting for there to be some sort of betrayal. The friendship that develops between these two men, however unlikely, could not have come at a better time for either of them. Mark needed someone completely outside of his circle to help him deal with the stress of his mothers illness, and Antonio just needed a friend.
Brian coming back into the picture kind of throws a curve into the story, but becomes something so beautiful that I couldn't imagine the story happening any other way.
I ran the gamut of emotions with this book, tears, laughter, anger, sadness, tears, yelling and tears. It was a visceral experience for me. The writing is bold and blunt and doesn't hold back. Not everything is sunshine and roses but you get a feel of honest, in your face emotions and it worked for me. It's not your typical boy meets boy, have some drama, work it out, live happily ever after...it's real and messy and life.
I do have to say that I cringed every time Antonio put ice cubes in his merlot.(that is where some of the yelling came from)
If you are looking for a book that will make you FEEL with layers of love, family, loss, friendship and second chances...then buy this book!
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RATING: 5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. This book was given to us by the author. Many thanks.