JoeyPinkney.com Book Review
Love’s True Second Chance
by Jeff Dawson
4 of 5 Stars
When Jeff Dawson penned the memoir “Love’s True Second Chance”, he opened his heart for the world to see. On the surface, this book is an intimate love story between two high school sweethearts who re-establish their bond after decades of separation. Dig deeper, and you will find an amazing maze of emotions, masculinity, life changes and most of all, love.
“Love’s True Second Chance” gives interesting insights on love, life and relationships from a man’s point of view. Jeff doesn’t flat out say, “This is the definition of love.” Throughout the book, his actions speak loudly through his words. The way Jeff loves and adores the woman that has had permanent residence in his heart from the days of grade school is endearing. He does so without attempting to be overly poetic. Instead, Jeff takes the WYSIWYG approach to telling his story.
The meat of “Love’s True Second Chance” is the time period between the phone call that pulled their worlds back together and the Debbie’s passing from breast cancer. Decades earlier, their relationship crashed and burned, like more teenage relationships do. Debbie didn’t know how to handle Jeff going off to college and leaving her behind, so she shunned him. In the aftermath of the breakup, Jeff became very bitter and lashed out at Debbie every chance he got. No matter how cold his heart got, there was an indelible impression on Jeff’s heart – one that drives the energy and motion of this book.
Jeff and Debbie fall in love with each other all over again, maybe even deeper the second time around. When Debbie comes back into Jeff’s life, she is battling with breast cancer. Undaunted, Jeff stands by her side to make sure her life is as comfortable as possible.
“Love’s True Second Chance” is an unlikely coming-of-age story. It goes from “boy meets girl” to “man (divorced with children) re-introduces himself to woman” (with children and malignant cancer). Jeff is just as enchanted with Debbie in his golden years as he was when he had to get her home to her parents before curfew. The difference is all of the distractions that adulthood brings: jobs, bills, lifestyle, stress. etc. Through it all, two kindred spirits reconnect. You get to read about that experience from a man’s perspective, which makes this book a unique take on romance.
Another interesting aspect of this memoir is Jeff’s relationship with Debbie’s children, Amanda and Jessica. They are slow to warm up to Jeff. Reading through the chapters and watching his bond with the girls grow is very heartwarming because Jeff did it on his own terms. Even though he has a rough exterior and course ways, he has a heart is gold. Loving Debbie means loving Jessica and Amanda. He slowly breaks down the natural barriers that are present when children feel like their parent is going to be taken away from them by a love interest. From bringing them along on his morning rides into town for coffee and adventure to playing catch to even putting on a wig to make the girls laugh, Jeff shows that there is much more to a man than just “hunting and gathering”.
Throughout “Love’s True Second Chance”, Jeff Dawson easily delves into his past, present and future as the chapters progress. He dovetails experiences with raising his own children from his previous marriage and situations that come to play between himself, Amanda and Jessica. He describes viewing Debbie’s smile when he saw it as a teenager as passionately as he describes that same smile through his older lenses. His life experiences prior to reuniting with Debbie gives him a practical perspective on his honored role in the lives of Debbie, Jessica and Amanda.
“Love’s True Second Chance” is easy to read and has few, if any, grammar mistakes. Jeff’s voice is clear, conversational and authentically his own. This makes for a very comfortable read. My only gripe with “Love’s True Second Chance” is that many of the anecdotes tended to be long and drawn out with a bunch of details that slowed down the pacing of the memoir as a whole. There were many times I itched to skip forward a paragraph or two to see what was next because I felt I was being pummeled by minutiae.
If there was ever a question about the ability of a man to truly love a woman in a completely romantic way – and write about it in vivid color, “Love’s True Second Chance” by Jeff Dawson is the answer.