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Second Chance Hardcover – June 19, 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Green (Swapping Lives, The Other Woman) injects a topical note into an otherwise paint-by-numbers work. After a terrorist attack on an Amtrak train kills 39-year-old Tom, his death serves as the catalyst for changes in the lives of four estranged schoolmates he left behind in England. Reuniting at Tom's memorial service are Holly, a former free spirit uncomfortably forced into becoming a suburban matron by her workaholic, social-climbing husband; Olivia, a lonely director of an animal shelter; Paul, a writer whose blissful marriage with his fashionable wife is marred by their inability to conceive; and Saffron, a recovering alcoholic actress secretly involved with a married Hollywood megastar. Tom's death reignites their friendship, causes them to reevaluate their lives and sends them marching toward a concluding warm fuzzy. Green's writing is competent, though her characters feel more like embodiments of their problems than actual people. There are few surprises, but the fairy tale ending should appease Green's many fans.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Green, author of chick-lit favorites Swapping Lives (2006) and The Other Woman (2005), explores the way one man's death affects the lives of his friends. Tom Fitzgerald, a Brit living in the States, is only 39 when he kisses his wife and children good-bye and boards a doomed train. In the wake of his death, his friends, some of whom haven't seen in each other in nearly two decades, come together to remember him. Despite one night of passion, Holly and Tom remained best friends, and she thinks she is content with her picture-perfect life despite a lack of love for her husband until she reconnects with Tom's charismatic, introspective younger brother. Olivia takes a chance on a man Tom set her up with shortly before he died. An actress in L.A., Saffron has fallen in love with one of Hollywood's sexiest stars, but she is growing tired of waiting for him to leave his loveless marriage. Paul and Anna couldn't love each other more, but her inability to conceive a child mars their happy marriage. Peopled with her trademark likable, sympathetic characters, Green's latest is sure to have wide appeal. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (June 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670038571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670038572
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In the iconic 80s movie "The Big Chill," former college friends meet at the unexpected funeral of one of their own...and their bittersweet reunion uncovers unexpected truths and vulnerabilities.

"Second Chance" starts with the exact same premise. A group of seemingly disparate adults in their 30s gathers to mourn a dear friend, Tom, unexpectedly killed in a terrorist attack (fictional, but scary)in New York. The friends gather in Britain for Tom's "hometown" memorial and a reunion. One friend, Saffron, is a grade B Hollywood actress with two big secrets to hide. Another, Holly, is married to a high-level lawyer and absolutely miserable, despite her two beautiful children. Olivia seems happy on the outside; she's an animal rescuer, but her longtime relationship has just collapsed. Paul seems the luckiest and happiest, married to a drop-dead gorgeous Scandinavian Internet entrepeneur, Anna, but they are unable to have children despite many IV attempts. And then there is Will, younger brother of Tom, who is still the perpetual hippie.

As all these friends gather, they find they still love one another, but must accept the realities of their adult lives. It becomes clear in short order that Tom was the catalyst who, all these years, kept them together by an invisible thread; although none of them really kept in touch, Tom kept in touch with them all. And it is upon him that many of their hopes and dreams have rested, in complete fantasy.

Jane Green has come far beyond her "chick lit" stage. This is a thoughtful book, maybe a bit cliched, but still well worth reading. It's a fast and interesting read, but meaningful as well. Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This book starts out as a British version of "The Big Chill" but goes downhill pretty fast.
We are introduced to all the main characters in the opening scene. They were school friends who went their separates ways and reunited when another friend dies in a terrorist attack.
So we have Holly, trapped in an unhappy marriage to Marcus, a vain, snobbish, selfish lawyer. The author devotes many pages throughout the book to demonstrating how vain, snobbish and selfish Marcus is. Oh, did I forget to tell you? He's vain, snobbish and selfish.
Next is Saffron, a B-list Hollywood actress with alcoholic tendencies having an affairs with P -- "the sexist man in the world." Except that P can't marry Saffron because he's married to someone else and it would be bad for his career. (Didn't stop Tom Cruise).
There's Olivia who likes dogs more than people, has a one-night stand with a hunky American and gets pregnant.
Paul is a journalist married to super-Swedish businesswoman Anna who would like to have children but can't get pregnant. Oh the possibilities for plot development that little contradiction offers.
This collection of cliches (sorry, I mean characters) falls in and out of bed with each other and others, goes to weddings and funerals, gets pregnant, gets drunk, gets depressed, gets high, gets low ... gets this, that and the other ...until the book ends with everyone living happily ever after and buying lots and lots of fabulous clothes and never getting wrinkles.
I honestly don't like giving books poor reviews and I have nothing against books about unhappy marriages and adultery (Anna Karenina and Madam Bovary examined this territory rather effectively, after all).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love British/Irish chick lit of the Helen Fielding or Anna Maxted variety and if there was any way I could make my living talking about it, I would. This was an attempt to branch out and see who else is producing good work in the same vein. Green is definitely not in Fielding's or even Maxted's league. Her writing lacks alacrity and wit. The whole plot was entirely too maudlin an exercise, and her characters were much too predictable. I am interested in the romance genre because an author is expected to innovate within certain conventions and do something new within a tried-and-true framework, but there is no attempt to do so here. Green doesn't push herself either in humor or in style. It was only readable because I was on a plane and had no other choice. <i> Second Chance </i> barely held my attention.
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Format: Hardcover
Jane Green's "Second Chance" focused on the lives of a few schoolmates who were brought together when they found out that one of their friends Tom, had died in a terrorist attack. Holly is a mother of two, married to a controlling husband, Saffron, a Hollywood actress having affair with one of the hottest actors in L.A., Olivia, who recently broke up with her long-time boyfriend, and Paul, who has been trying to have a baby with his wife. These friends has never keep in touch with each other but were reunited after Tom's death. In addition, Tom's death made them reexamine the lives they have chosen as well as the decisions they made.

I have always been a fan of Jane Green but this one was not her typical work. "Second Chance" is not a very engaging read as at times, I feel that the author was bouncing from one character to the other. The writing was so-so and mostly, the storyline was just uninteresting. It was hard for me to grasp the idea of how a few people who lost touch over the years were able to reveal their deepest and darkest secrets to one another. This was a disappointing read for me.
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