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Once in a Lifetime

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  86 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Offered a yearlong medical research fellowship in France, Shane Johnson has many hopes for the experience: a chance to improve his French, an opportunity to hone his research skills before starting his PhD at Baylor, and the freedom to live life as an openly gay man for the first time. He’ll chronicle his year abroad with its challenges, victories, and setbacks as he strug ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published July 8th 2011 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 1st 2011)
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Jun 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not my style at all. This is written as what we're supposed to believe is a journal. However, even that's not believable to me because there are so many things that no one would write in their journal. SMH...
Shane can't pass up the opportunity to study in France for a year as a medical researcher before starting graduate school. As a still-mostly-closeted gay man, France is also an opportunity to explore his homosexuality without the judgment of his fundamentalist college and family. It's the perfect chance to find himself--and just perhaps the man he wants to spend his life with.

Shane is a young man (22 for most of the story) who knows what he wants. Although he's inexperienced, he's not willing to
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: m-m, romance, it-sucked
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Dear book, I'm sorry we didn't work out like I thought we would. While I liked the story that filled your pages, I just didn't like the way it was written...
The story is written like a journal which is obviously something that doesn't work for me. The characters stayed distant and w/o a real connection between them or me. Clear case of: it's me, not you dear book...
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog
Once in a Lifetime by Ariel Tachna
Release Date: July 8th, 2011
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Page Count: 182
Source: Directly from publisher for review

Offered a yearlong medical research fellowship in France, Shane Johnson has many hopes for the experience: a chance to improve his French, an opportunity to hone his research skills before starting his PhD at Baylor, and the freedom to live life as an openly gay man for the first time. He'll chronicle his year abroad with its challenges, victories, and set
Matthew Vandrew
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember when was the last time I read a book so precisely written. This is a diary of a young man and it reads like that all the way. There are things you would expect in a diary from his stay in France. I know how difficult it is to keep yourself in line if you decide to write something so specific. 
To make it even better, it's not just the style, but the whole characteristics of Shane. Consistent throughout the book, brought up with his choice of words and thoughts. Just brilliant!
Becky Condit
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Part travelogue, part teen-aged girl's diary as written by a 22 year old man. I both enjoyed and was puzzled by this book. The year-in-France is wonderfully written, like a virtual tour of some of the most scenic places. It was also nice not to see religion as a sledgehammer wielded by homophobic zealots. Shane's religious faith is his bedrock, but also a bit of a snag for a man coming out of the closet. Chapter after chapter of "Is he the One?" "What should I do?" "What is love?" Can I have sex ...more
Kendra T
This was a pretty good book. It was a solid 3 star. It was written all as a journal. I was concerned how I would connect with the characters when I started reading since it was all strictly from Shane's POV. This proved to be accurate. Although it was written well enough for me to know what was going on and how the MC felt, it was hard to feel any connection with any other character because it was all Shane's perception and words, rather than hearing the others speak them.
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it
This is the first story I've read that was in journal format from beginning to end. It was like reading straight out of some kid's journal. It's a good thing the kid could write well. Even though you saw the story through only one perspective, it was an interesting one. I ended up finishing this book in a few days so it was terribly long either. All around I gave it 3 stars. It was an interesting format/ journal style AND a sweet little story with a nice ending. Well done.
Jess Candela
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, read-in-2011
I loved the journal style, it reminded me so much of my own journals on my own travels. The style and content are both very similar to what I wrote, which had the effect of reminding me of my own adventures even while I was completely absorbed in Shane's. I loved his determination to find ways to meld his faith and his sexuality, and to be true to himself. And the way each of his relationships developed, but of course especially the one with Jean-Matthias.
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting insight into the mind of someone just coming to terms with both self and sexuality. The journal style kinda threw me and felt almost too personal sometimes but it was interesting to see it that way. What I didn't like was Shane's complete dependence on religion. While he's questioning everything else in his life, this is the one thing that remains unshakable to him and I felt it was also his most restricting aspect that he never even touched on.
A hard one to rate and describe because the writing is very good. Its the diary format where it becomes unstuck. Shane's thoughts and journal entries are unusual and an interesting way to tell a story, not my thing. I missed feeling the emotional connection towards the other characters. A slow moving romance, unfortunately it didn't really grab me.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up
sweet story of a gay 22 year old from a Christian college in West Texas on a year long placement in France determined to be himself for the first time. Told in the form of a diary. No angst, no drama, just a nice snapshot of his life and first experiences as an out gay man.
Blackravens Reviews
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it
3.5 Ravens. Ariel Tachna is a good novelist who fully defines her characters and stays devoted to the qualities that make them who they are. To read this review in its entirety, please visit
Thomaidha Papa
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Well, I'm finished... Took me 2 days but it's done.
My impressions are a bit difficult to put in words. I'll say it was definitely interesting. It's wasn't my kind of thing though. I'm not a religious person so I couldn't relate at all. Still interesting though.
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-them
4.5 Stars. I loved this book. It suprised me because I didn't think I would like the journal entry type of book, but it really worked for this story. I also loved the ending and who he ended up with, great choice if you ask me.
This one was difficult for me to get used to. We are reading his journal and for the first quarter of the book I really struggled and thought I would put it down and not finish it. Luckily, things picked up and I found myself wondering what would happen next.
Dragonpoetikfly BlackHippyPoet310 Poetry
i am loving this authors versatile writing technique. This book was written in first person p.o.v. I really enjoyed reading this as journal entries. The story was wonderfully constructed, and I was surprised by the outcome(good surprise)!
Nancy L
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, romance
Interesting diary entry format. I loved the MC and reading about his experiences. Different in the fact that he held Christian beliefs and stuck to them.
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Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit, and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.

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