Book Review The Queen of Second Chances

Here’s another slightly overdue book review from DM Barr’s Queen of Second Chances. It’s a novel with a few essential canine characters contributing to the excitement and major plot points. Here’s what I liked about the book, thoughts on places young readers might get lost, and some minor quibbles.


If you’re looking for something fun with a healthy dose of adventure and a bit of romance, I recommend reading The Queen of Second Chances.

The main character of the queen of second chances

Turns out I have a lot in common with the novel’s main character, Carra (Carraway), including majoring in college, surviving a dog attack, and other small family details. It always helps keep a reader engaged. Not that I don’t appreciate protagonists from vastly different backgrounds either, but Carra felt relatable for a variety of reasons, including the economics of her living situation.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m *worn out of rom-com books or movies where everyone has a shitload of money.

Themes and real life

The Second Chance Queen focuses on the challenges seniors face – from scammers, including family members, to mindless programs at senior centers and even family members with addictions causing all kinds of havoc.

Before Carra’s innovations, the senior center activities in the book remind me of when my mother-in-law had to be in a physical rehabilitation center for a while and the entertainment included a local musician playing [sarcasm] song selections like “How much is that dog in the window?” » She was horrified and annoyed by it all. Just because she needed physical therapy and other help for a while doesn’t mean her brain wasn’t 100%. The reference to this stupid song has become a long-standing family joke.

And, yeah, I just used a cultural reference that many might not understand (just like DM Barr does in the book), so you know? It is easy to do.

Romantic comedies often feel rosier than the real thing, but The Queen of Second Chances feels grittier than that, in a good way.

Yes, the male protagonist is an elderly-focused lawyer with political aspirations and deep pockets of donors, but Carra convinces him to do hands-on work with the elderly in the community.

Adventures, excitement and villains

Some of the situations they find themselves in are heartbreaking, which adds a new angle to the rom-com genre.

Even better, a few dogs play major (heroic) roles in a few critical scenes in the book. You will encourage them. Yup, dogs!

I also liked that the villains of the books, as they are, fit my impressions of people working in certain types of professions, such as corny/manipulative sales. Yes, I have luggage.

Favorite lines from Queen of Second Chances

Several turns of key phrases made me laugh. DM Barr can certainly create vivid images with words, such as…

“She looked as frantic and tormented as usual – like a forgetful scientist who had discovered, and immediately misplaced, the cure for cancer.”

Where young readers might get lost

I’ve marked maybe a dozen places where The Queen of Second Chances makes cultural references that young readers might not understand, like the old TV show Hee-Haw (which even I wouldn’t know except that my grandparents sometimes watched it in the 1970s). I’m shocked to see online that I leaked 1969 to 1997. I had NO idea it was that long. Ha!

So maybe be prepared to search for referrals you don’t get right away. They’re funny and descriptive, but you need to understand the context to feel fully engaged.

Some quibbles

I thoroughly enjoyed Queen of Second Chances and thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment and distraction provided. Just a few small flats of things I could have done without:

  • A reference to the philosophies of Ayn Rand
  • Using “master” as a word to describe someone who lives with and takes care of a dog – This is an old way of talking about dogs, and it refers to slave ownership and really shouldn’t be used anymore .
  • The recommendation that someone say a dog is an ’emotional support animal’ to circumvent accessibility rules
  • What’s not entirely true when it comes to dogs is that “it all depends on how you raise them” – Some breeds, some dogs, are what they are for genetic reasons. and others. In some cases, no matter how well they are raised, educated, and socialized, some dogs are just not decent or normal or may struggle with various behavioral issues over their lifetime.

And, before anyone goes crazy about this, I am NOT picking a specific breed, including the Pittie in the book. I mean there is potential in all races for something to happen.

I’m bred true to border collies, of course, but I’ve raised several pittie/mix babies over the years. Technically, Rodger on the far right was listed as primarily a cattle dog, but I guess there was a bit of a pittie in him too.

So, yeah, if you’re looking for something fun with a healthy dose of adventure and a bit of romance, I recommend reading The Queen of Second Chances.

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