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Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat

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Luke Morrow, a financially struggling young single parent to an 8-year-old boy, comes to believe that he has nothing, until by a magical twist of fate, his improbable internet technology start-up turns him into a Silicon Valley billionaire star. Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat begins with Luke’s harrowing romantic sojourn on the moneyed Westside of Los Angeles. Just when Luke can’t bear life’s pain anymore, he is remade—into a rich but brutal man. As Luke catapults through realms of fame and fortune, he is granted one last chance to seek redemption in a final showdown between honor and his own devastating power.

455 pages, Paperback

Published April 1, 2016

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Todd R. Baker

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews
Profile Image for Colleen .
379 reviews189 followers
March 12, 2017
An interesting read on the male perspective on what defines success and life's true meaning. I enjoyed the parts on what extreme wealth can buy, as well as how a father should treat his son. A real eye-opener on how some people can live and how priorities affect so many people around you. A somewhat entertaining read, but a little heavy at times. The ending made me feel better. :-)

Thanks to the Goodreads giveaways for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

"You guys drink too much beer." (Joke to his 8-year old boy.)

Children aren't disappointed in you - unless you don't love them.

Gringo or amigo, Luke feels right at home, for he cherishes the little ones who cry for chips and spill their sodas: the night isn't so lonely when they do.

Lisa says, "I feel like I've been locked in a basement for a year."

Equanimity: a pleasant state of existence, achievable if Luke can just be happy for his fellow man.

"When my wind bath is over!" (window down in vehicle)

My mom says when you have a second child, you grow a second heart.

Those who marry for money earn every penny.

, and Trevor does not know what he did all of the sudden to be a bad boy.

It's just a matter of controlling your emotions once and for all, It's not good for anyone having intense feelings. You need to be a happy person, like me.

Luke does not say anything about his impending divorce, and he will continue to wear his wedding ring when he returns, because why explain inconsequence?

If a woman is divorced with children, she's not really alone, and her time with her kids is the last of her springs, so why muck it up?For she listens to the real Book of Luke, and knows that where her treasure is, her heart will also be.

So, like many 16-year-olds of her time and place, the last thing she wants is a serious boyfriend messing with her emotions, forcing her to act all committed and couply.

Your job is to be a kid. What's my job?
My job is to love you. And you know what I say? The two easiest jobs in the world.
1 review1 follower
May 10, 2016
I was very impressed with Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat, especially given that this was the first novel for this talented author. The dialogue was crisp, witty and fast paced. The plot twists kept my attention. The book is also a mirror of contemporary society and the fascination with tremendous wealth. Overall, an outstanding read that I will recommend to my book club.
Profile Image for Hannah.
46 reviews12 followers
June 5, 2016
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway.

I don't even know where to start with this book or how to go about rating it. In the beginning, I honestly wasn't feeling this book at all, because it wasn't what I thought it would be and certain little things were annoying me beyond imagination. But I decided to stick it out, because that's just the kind of reader I am, and I'm honestly glad I did. Before I knew it, it really started to pick up and I was breezing right through the pages. I still couldn't tell if I liked it, or if I hated most of the characters too much for it to be redeemable (and I totally understand that it was kind of the point to hate some of the characters, but even when some people felt sympathy for Luke in the earlier pages, I just thought he was an irresponsible pain). I continued to become more and more engrossed in the story, and the characters, which has never happened to me in a story where the characters were meant to be unlikable. And now I'm sitting down, having just finished the final page, and my head is spinning, and I've felt boredom and hope and hatred and happiness and annoyance and I think, at the end of it all, I may love this book.
I'm going to go try to wrap my brain around how I feel about Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat, and I may edit this review or I may choose to leave it as is, who knows. Although no book is right for everyone, I would absolutely recommend giving this book a try for yourself, you may just end up loving it. At the very least, it will give you strong emotional reactions, and at the end of the day, I think that's kind of great. I may officially be out of my reading slump, and I am quite grateful to Todd R. Baker for making that happen!
1 review
May 27, 2016
Think Bonfire of the Vanities LA version, meets A Christmas Carol, meets movie"It Could Happen to You". Quintessential LA high life and down and out dreamers pursue the meaning of life. Baker writes in a catchy style, a fast read, engaging, entertaining and sometimes uncomfortably close to reality. Read it.
Profile Image for BECKY ROE.
15 reviews2 followers
April 2, 2016
Luke is a divorced father of an 8 year old boy, who is clearly the center of his world. The man is down on his luck, financially drained, with a chip on his shoulder about all of the things he has tried to strike it rich, but seemingly failed. He is bitter as hell about where he is in life, but he continues to nurture his relationship with his son, who seems to be the only person who keeps Luke above water. Not for long. While alone, feeling as low as one can imagine, Luke decides his life is not worth living. In a bizarre twist, he is suddenly the person he believes he deserves to be. He strikes it rich with his internet start up technology, but he is so driven to to be rich, his life around him tumbles like a stack of blocks. His relationships are soured, he treats his son like an afterthought, he is a vicious but wealthy man. In the end, he has made many choices that have steered him down the wrong path, but can he get back and redeem himself? I found it was just like the classic, "It's a Wonderful Life" ... a beautifully woven tale, I picked it up, and found I was unable to put it down willingly. When I was forced to look away, my mind would not let go. The story was continuously in the forefront of my mind, getting back to finish was a constant goal. I've been beyond the final chapter for weeks now, but the tale has not let go. I continue to think about what I've read, and replay the chapters in my mind again and again. It's so damned good, this is one I know I'll read again, just to renew the feeling I got from reading it the first time.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
Read the book. Absorb it. Then read it again. You won't be sorry....
Profile Image for Cheryl Wedesweiler.
Author 2 books6 followers
May 6, 2016
I was lucky to win this book in a GOODREADS.COM giveaway. I really enjoyed this and his decision at the end was terrific!

This was taken from the above:
"Luke Morrow, a financially struggling young single parent to an 8-year-old boy, comes to believe that he has nothing, until by a magical twist of fate, his improbable internet technology start-up turns him into a Silicon Valley billionaire star. Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat begins with Luke’s harrowing romantic sojourn on the moneyed Westside of Los Angeles. Just when Luke can’t bear life’s pain anymore, he is remade—into a rich but brutal man. As Luke catapults through realms of fame and fortune, he is granted one last chance to seek redemption in a final showdown between honor and his own devastating power."
Profile Image for Laurie.
116 reviews23 followers
March 11, 2016
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for this book in exchange for my fair review. I have had a lot of difficulty with this book. I liked the idea behind it, but found it very disjointed and the writing of the narrative left plenty to be desired. There wasn't any cohesiveness between paragraphs and there was also repetition and/or scattered thoughts throughout the book, making it difficult to understand what was happening. The brief paragraphs came across as more of a script than a novel, and didn't allow you to relate to the characters. This book has potential to be a good story but at this point I am sadly disappointed.
1 review
May 21, 2016
This book really surprised me. I found it really well paced and entertaining, but the deeper meanings of the story really got to me. The book poses some important questions like who are you and how will you choose to live your life, if you were given a chance to have whatever you wanted. The whole story came full circle in the end, and I thought the ending was unexpected and touching. It’s been a long time since I read a novel that actually made me feel things deeply. Overall, the book is smart and fun and explores the meaning of life in a relatable way.
April 11, 2016
I could not put this book down. The story was compelling and the ferocity with which it was written carried the narrative. It was a great story and the main character's effect on others in the second half of the book was so brutally wrought, that than when I was done, I felt like I'd been through an experience. I read it over the weekend and it stayed with me for several days.
51 reviews2 followers
May 20, 2016
Goodreads win

An interesting read that was hard to put down. I loved the main character and felt the book was a refreshing read from what I usually read. The writing was great and made the story that much better. A good read that many people would like. I would recommend.
Profile Image for Nancy Brady.
Author 4 books36 followers
March 1, 2017
Full disclosure: I received this novel as a recipient of a First Reads Goodreads giveaway, but that in no way affected this review.

How does one rate a book that is on one hand positive and the other hand negative? How does one rate a book in which the protagonist is both a decent likeable person and an absolutely deplorable-acting jerk*? That is this reader's difficulty with this novel (Parts were 5 star quality; other parts were 1 star quality).

Luke, a down-on-his-luck single father, loves his eight-year-old son Trevor, but having over-reached with an entrepreneurial enterprise, he has lost his job,his home, and maybe even time with his kid.

On the verge of killing himself, he undergoes a miracle or actually many of them. Luke then becomes a successful, but brutal man, taking no prisoners as uses friends, employees, lovers, etc. until they become liabilities. He becomes everything that he planned when he was down and out. Yet, in the end, the outcome may be the same as when a choice must be made that will affect his son and him.

Is redemption possible? Life or death? Which will he choose? Can and will he make the right choices? Do miracles happen?

Loved the interactions between Luke (before) and Trevor. He's a great father who loves his kid and tries to do right by him. On the other hand, the interactions between Luke (after) and Trevor were downright sad. Loved the lemonette tree, too.

A few things of note: one character's name Stacy/Tracy kept changing throughout the story (one time on consecutive pages).

Quotes: "...you still remember what my real job is, the only important one?"
"I forget."
"My job is to love you. What's your job?"
"I forget."
"Your job is to be a kid. And you know what I say? The two easiest jobs in the world." (p. 15)

A more extensive review will be posted on www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com in the near future once this reader can fully assess her feelings on the story as they are still raw.
Profile Image for Tracey.
49 reviews15 followers
April 5, 2016
Luke Morrow's downward spiral began years ago when his startup business failed and his wife left him, taking with her their young son, Trevor. Things go from bad to worse and Luke is reduced to working at a minimum wage job and forced to downsize from a modest one bedroom apartment in a good neighborhood to something much smaller and not so nice. The light of Luke's life is his son. During Trevor's visits, the two share adventures and happiness that money can't buy. Then Luke discovers his ex-wife and her husband plan to relocate to the east coast which would make it impossible for him to see his son. Luke is filled with self-loathing and becomes obsessed with the idea that if only he were rich and powerful, his life would be perfect. Or would it?

Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat is hard to break down into neat categories. It has an It's a Wonderful Life aspect that delivers some very powerful messages about consequences. Todd R. Baker expertly paints a portrait of an unfulfilled man who has reached rock bottom. Luke is mildly unlikeable but his tenderness towards his son makes him sympathetic. So much so that in Part 1, Luke's lonely journey into the depths of desperation and fear as he struggles in a cruel, uncaring world actually made me uncomfortable. But Secrets of Men tells two very different stories through its alternate timeline. Part 2 depicts a very different Luke Morrow. In his pursuit of wealth and power he brutally tramples everyone in his path, including his son. His heartless behavior towards his son and his degrading treatment of the women who love him is despicable.

I was intrigued by the author's observations of the psyches of married/divorced men and their expected role in society. The novel explores the stress men put themselves under to attain financial success and offers a rare perspective of their struggle to find their place in a competitive world.

Todd R. Baker's writing style is aggressive and direct and might have seemed somewhat disjointed if the approach didn't serve the story so well. Its third person narrative softens the impact of some of the hard-to-take events making them feel less personal and more objective.

Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat is thought provoking and unusual. It touches on difficult topics such as anxiety, autism, infidelity, divorce, depression and suicide in a realistic manner and without stigmas, which I found refreshing. I believe it will become a favorite of Book Clubs because it's packed with symbolism and issues ripe for discussion.

Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat has only a small speculative fiction portion, so it's not my usual fare and parts of the book were difficult for me to read due to the ugliness of the situations. However, its message of redemption won me over. Ultimately, I enjoyed the love story between father and son. The touching moments between Luke and Trevor stand out as memorable highlights. Todd R. Baker has written a strong debut novel. Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat is haunting and unforgettable
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
979 reviews88 followers
June 16, 2017
Luke Morrow, a financially struggling young single parent to an 8-year-old boy, comes to believe that he has nothing, until by a magical twist of fate, his improbable internet technology start-up turns him into a Silicon Valley billionaire star. Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat begins with Luke’s harrowing romantic sojourn on the moneyed Westside of Los Angeles. Just when Luke can’t bear life’s pain anymore, he is remade—into a rich but brutal man. As Luke catapults through realms of fame and fortune, he is granted one last chance to seek redemption in a final showdown between honor and his own devastating power

My Thoughts on it
1 star
First I would like to say thins to the publishers and to my goodreads group The Life Of A Book Addict for giving me a chance at reading this book and to say that I won it though a book giveaway they was having, with that said lets get into what I thought of the book: I loved the cover of it but unfortunately that's the only thing I did love about :all the things I hated about are:
1:found it very disjointed and the writing of the narrative left plenty to be desired,
2: not particularly enjoyable
3:had a lot of difficulty with this book , meaning I had difficultly understand what was happening
4:paragraphs came across as more of a script than a novel
5: it was putting me in a reading slump
those are the number 1 things I hated about this book, plus for reasons 1 , 3 and 4 I had to keep going back and re reading pages and paragraphs to try and understand what I just read more than once , and because of that I could only stand to read 77 pages of it, so with that said I'm DNF it, and won't be finish it, I really did try to keep reading it because 1: I don't like DNF books and 2: I kept hoping it would get better but it just didn't not for me, its just impossible for me todo so. Wish I could give it a better rating but I just can't do so.
812 reviews9 followers
May 22, 2016
I won this book on goodreads and, yes, I did read the other reviews before reading the book. I may not have finished the book, had the reviews not been so glowing. The first part of the book is okay and Luke is a sympathetic character. The second part, when he becomes rich, I get it, he is not a nice guy. 200+ pgs. of not a nice guy, much of it disjointed, with one paragraph following another in another place or perhaps years later. If I wanted to read 200 pgs. of an annoying man, fine but every couple of pages there was one more sex act: alone, with a prostitute, or (hopefully) no strings attached woman. Apparently if a man has anything he wants in the world, that would be it. The continual discussion of how (preferable he wouldn't have to see her face), or a few different women in a row......you get the drift, for me it was just gratuitous and after a point a bit like beating a dead horse, pardon the pun.
93 reviews12 followers
July 12, 2016
I enjoyed reading this book. It was a fast paced and an easy read. Todd R Baker, in his debut novel, tells a story of a struggling single parent, Luke Morrow, exploring the meaning of life and success. In my opinion, Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat is haunting and unforgettable. It follows Luke Morrow as he fails, hits rock bottom, gets a second chance in life, becomes heartless and tramples everyone in his path. It is a story as told in the third person narrative, of anxiety, depression, divorce, and narcissism. There is also a message of redemption.

The journey to the end had its "bumps"along the way. The writing appeared to be disjointed in a few areas. Perhaps, this is the "script” type writing some reviews mentioned.

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you Mary Marbear and the group “Life of a Book Addict”.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
31 reviews
July 25, 2017
Much needed lessons on money and satisfaction. We often chase after our dreams without truly knowing what achieving those dreams would be like. Very moving novel.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
15 reviews
July 7, 2016
Secrets of Men…in a Lifeboat by Todd R. Baker is not my normal choice of reading material. I tend to prefer mysteries where I have to use my brain in order to figure out who “dunnit” before reaching the end. The harder it is to figure out who the bad guy is the more I enjoy reading the book. In other words, I like a challenge. Then of course there’s fantasy lit where you know nothing is real and you can just enjoy a good romp through the author’s imagination and your own. However, after reading the summary of Secrets of Men… on Goodreads, I decided to take a chance and entered the giveaway knowing all along that if I won a copy of the book it would take me out of my reading box, so to speak. Besides, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. To my amazement and pleasure, I won an autographed copy of the book! Thank you!

I’m an older reader whose life experiences tend to colour my take on written matter. Add to that a BS in Psychology along with decades of working with people of all ages and you have the makings of a reader who not only reads the lines but between them. Because of that, I often find that everything old is new again if you pay very close attention, and such is the case with this book. It takes elements of It’s a Wonderful Life as well as the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-4), the two most obvious to me, and spices them up for the modern reader. Personally, there was way too much spice, oftentimes more spice and details than necessary, to get the point across regarding Luke’s behaviour. But, as they say, sex sells.

The book is divided into two parts. Given that life is a series of choices, wise or unwise, and that there are always three sides to every story, i.e. his, hers, and the truth, I found the way in which Luke’s life was presented to the reader in the first part of the book to be very believable. In fact, I think the first part is most likely closer to the truth about who he is than the second part. In the first part, I found that I sympathized with Luke regarding his bad luck where his job was concerned, was moved by his love for his son, and appreciated his ability to aid and interact with a handicapped and apparently homeless man when others would have ignored him. Granted, Luke has issues, but he has a heart which is more than could be said about his ex-wife, Lisa. I could not bring myself to like her due to her shallowness and selfish whining. Nor did I care for her second husband, Mark, who seemed to revel in rubbing Luke’s failure to hang on to his wife and employment in his face, albeit subtly. Nothing like kicking a good man when he’s down. Because of this, it was fairly predictable that the first half of the book would end as it did. However, for those who can read between the lines, the reader will be left wondering if what they think happened actually did happen or was Luke somehow spared from his last recorded choice.

The second half of the book is where similarities to It’s a Wonderful Life cannot be missed by those familiar with the story. Based on the end of part one, Luke finds himself in a lifeboat for a short time, then overboard only to be rescued by some fishermen whose boat is almost immediately torn apart by a crashing plane. Luke is once again in water, being dragged down to the ocean floor, pushed across the globe by the current to land under a tree in upstate New York. It is there that he is confronted with a choice. Will he choose the narrow path that looks difficult and foreboding, or the wide path with a golden gate and blooming tree? After he makes his choice, not only does he lose something very important, but he meets his guardian angel, Hershey. Hershey is someone his grandfather knew from 1941. With his help, Luke is allowed to see another life that is very different than the one he knew before. This other life is one in which he obtains the power, prestige, and wealth that he’s always thought he wanted. This life starts out with him being a seemingly decent guy, meeting a nice girl, Lisa, and getting married. Unfortunately, his desire to be somebody causes his marriage to end before his son is born. Lisa is portrayed as being the model mother, in contrast to her behaviour in part one, and Luke is portrayed as being ruthless, a sex fiend, and caring for no one but himself and what he wants. Obviously, to gain the things he wants he has to step on and over a lot of people who are expendable as soon as their usefulness to him ends. In other words, the end justified the means in Luke’s mind.

The second part of this book is so fanciful, at least to someone such as I who has never known riches to the extent that Luke did, that you sensed the author was having a good time thinking up an ultra-extravagant lifestyle for his main character. While it appeared that Luke was using the people, especially the women, who came in and out of his life in this second part, it can be argued that they were in turn using him for their own gain, be it monetary, professional advancement, or in the case of some of the women, to fulfill their desire to have children. Sadly, Luke was not the father to his son in this second life version that he was in the first. While he does interact with his son it is rarely and therefore no bond between them is formed.

As with all men, and women for that matter, who cannot be content with what they have but who need just one more thing or event in their life to make it complete, Luke goes too far and has to be brought back to earth, literally, by Hershey who reveals the contents of a box that has hitherto been off limits to Luke. In revealing the contents of the box, Hershey also brings Luke’s life into focus for him starting with a parade of folks whose lives have been touched by Luke's own life and choices throughout. It is at this point that Luke must make one last choice, and it’s a big one. Will he choose life or death for the one who is most important to him?

As an aside, I believe writers are told to write about what they know and that which they are most familiar. I believe this is the first book that Mr. Baker has written. I couldn’t help but wonder, after reading the “About the Author” section at the end, how much of this story stemmed from his own experiences or perhaps the experiences of others he has known well. After you read it you’ll see some similarities to Luke’s life like his reference to Stanford being “heaven on earth” and the fact that the author is a graduate of Stanford. Plus, Mr. Baker lives in California where much of the story takes place, and all that name dropping of well-known and influential people, assuming you run in those circles, that have been in the author’s life seem to parallel Luke’s name dropping, etc. quite well. Just wondering…

NOTE: As mentioned above language and sexual exploits figure strongly in this book. I would not recommend it for those who are sensitive to either as they would definitely find them offensive. Were it not for that, I would have given the book a four star rating.

165 reviews5 followers
July 13, 2017
Disclaimer: I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaways program. This in no way affected my review of the book.

Good story hampered by bad writing. Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat tells the story of Luke Morrow, a devoted dad to his 8 year old son, Trevor, but also kind of a failure at everything else (marriage, employment, financial management). A twist of fate allows him to rewrite his life, but he sacrifices his family for greed, and he mistreats everyone in his path. Honestly, this would have been a good story, had it not been for the flowery and stupid prose and the random jump-cut like scenes in each chapter. I'm thinking this would make a better screenplay than novel, as then I wouldn't have to endure Luke's idiotic thoughts. Neither Luke nor his ex wife Lisa comes out looking good in this book; both say they love him, but it never comes across as genuine. In his "good" life, Luke just lectures at Trevor while Lisa manipulates the custody agreement to lock Luke out of Trevor's life. In his "bad" life, Luke is unbearably selfish while Lisa again turns manipulative (though it should be noted, less greedy and money hungry than she was in the original storyline).

Also, I'm not too pleased to read some of the sexist tripe in here (e.g. the rather revolting and cruel depiction of Britney Spears' genitals--the nerve of a man who probably has herpes and every other STI known to man based on his habits).
September 30, 2017
It took months to finish this book.

I was nonplussed at most of the narrative. It struck me as a darker version as "It's a Wonderful Life" with sex and some domestic violence. I didn't care about the plight of the main character, the future his son would have, or anyone else the author bothered to spend pages of needless dialogue on.

There are a few moments that feel genuine (spoilers): in one of the timelines, the scenes between the main character and his son were touching, and I empathized with Luke's genuine concern and love for the people around him, especially Trevor.

Other than that, I wanted Luke to die so the book would finally and mercifully end.

The prose is adequate, but again, I couldn't stop thinking of, "It's a Wonderful Life," as I read it (or "A Christmas Carol" or "Before I Fall") but with a less engaging protagonist.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a more sympathetic subject than this story's protagonist.
Profile Image for Barbara Leuthe.
324 reviews4 followers
June 8, 2017
This book is truly a great story showing that just because you may get what you want it may not turn out as you expect.Seeing both sides of Luke's life and how destiny changes you was very interesting. I will look for more books by this author.I received this book free as part of goodreads giveaways.
Profile Image for Christie Litchfield.
114 reviews3 followers
July 7, 2017
This was received in a Goodreads Giveaway in trade for an honest review.

Overall, I very much liked the concept of the novel. Part 1 was very interesting and pulled at my heart strings. Part 2 was slow for me at times, and I found myself getting very angry with Luke. Think the ending was a little rushed given the concept.
Profile Image for Knives Boone.
142 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2016
As Luke Morrow is about to turn 40, he feels like is a failure. It's as if life has thrown him a lemon, and he needs to decide if he should make lemonade, or give up everything and end it all. After a “magical twist of fate”, he is given the opportunity for a do-over. Will he make the right choices and end up a happier man, or will he end up worse off than he was to begin with?

I enjoyed this book because of the symmetry and balance in the text between the two timelines. Much care was given to replay exact scenarios in both lifetimes, but with a little twist that made them different, and allowed the reader to gain that extra bit of insight into the minds of the characters due to these tiny changes in the scenes. One of my favorite examples is when Luke is singing to baby Trevor in the first lifetime, “How wonderful life is, with Trevor in the world” and then when he is singing to him in the second go-around he sings, "How wonderful life is, with Daddy-O in the world”. It was spot-on for exactly where Luke’s mind was in the two divergent timelines.

The only major way this story would have been better for me, was if a few timeline inconsistencies were cleared up. These are minor issues, and not crucial to the plot, but were distracting to me, nonetheless.

In the first timeline, Kit, his niece was five years old when he visits his sister’s family in Chicago. At this time, Trevor was eight, and Luke and Lisa were already long divorced. However, in the second timeline, Kit attends the marriage of Luke and Lisa and is five years old. The age of Luke when he got married did not change, so Kit’s age is a discrepancy.
The other problem was with Trevor’s age. In the first timeline, Luke receives his 20 year college reunion book and Trevor is eight years old. In the second timeline, when Luke receives his 10 year college reunion book, Lisa is pregnant with Trevor. If one is true, the other is off by two years.
But, as I said, these issues were minor and did not take away from the plot of the book, merely made me frustrated.

Potentially Offensive Content:

Sex – multiple one night stands between consenting adults, other sexual encounters between consenting adults, voyeurism, masturbation, prostitution, etc.

Violence – military discussions about war, one scene involving domestic violence on a child, verbal abuse, suicide

Language – I did not keep a tally, but the there were many swear words and other potentially offensive language sprinkled throughout the entire book. The “F” word is used multiple times.

I especially enjoyed how much the author made me empathize with nearly all of the characters at different times. During the the first timeline, I really felt sorry for Luke. He was a good guy, who had just been handed some rough breaks in life. Then fast forward to the second timeline, and I really didn’t care if he was hit by a bus, and was at times actively rooting for such a catastrophe to befall him. The character development was amazing, though, because just as Ebenezer Scrooge learned to value life in A Christmas Carol, or George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, Luke comes around in the end.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes stories with a “life lesson”, especially along the lines of A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life, as they are similar in theme.

This paperback was given to me in a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Jalisa Jones.
38 reviews2 followers
July 17, 2017
Even though I won this book in a giveaway, I really enjoyed it. I liked that it represents so many parents out here in the real world. Single parents who try to do right by their own children and sometimes due to frustrations and stress, we don't always handle things in the best ways. Sometimes we have mental breakdowns and may even think ending our lives will make things stop. I loved the little twist towards the end of the book, how Luke got a second chance. This book kind of reminded me of "Ghost of Christmas Past" where they main character gets to see how things would've ended up if he went down a certain path. I would definitely recommend this book.
Profile Image for Robbi Leah  Freeman.
462 reviews6 followers
June 24, 2016
First I must say this is the most awesome cover on a book ever! I could not wait to read it!
Also I received a ARC on book for a review and I really appreciate the opportunity but I must be honest for myself! You may love it or you may hate it. Book brings strong emotions!!!
The book is wrote in small & large paragraphs. It's not really a written story but more of highlighted sections of a life. Is this a male writing style. Kind of like Patterson short & sweet (except some of these "paragraphs" are nowhere close to sweet) No wasted words? But that's not why it's a 3 star book even though it did take off a 1/2 point because sometimes I wanted to know more. But this is my observation on author's writing style.
Below is why 3 stars: (If you stop here I would recommend reading the book and making your own mind up on stars because of the emotions brought into yourself while reading plus it makes you think $ it is a powerful book.)

It starts with Luke Morrow, a divorced dad, with limited visitation to his son Trevor, whom he really loves. He was an ad exec who tried to get into the Internet craze but failed and he just isn't hitting his dreams and is basically starting to lose everything including his wife, Lisa, who is remarried. It shows his life this way for the 1st half and you are really pulling for him and then things change and he gets to go back and relive his life but he is a totally bad person. I hope I'm not giving too much info but there is a lot in this book in both lives! It was an interesting read and it does make you think. Book clubs will love this one! Why a 3 star book??? Because I wanted to reach into the book and pull Luke #2 out and beat the crap out of him. I was honestly sick reading about him.
Also the author has great points on living with a soul or without but it almost was like he was trying to preach that if you are a good person and good to those around you then you will not succeed. On the other hand if you are a complete jerk and care about no one but yourself then you can succeed. I have met many successful people that are nice and many that are failures that are horrible people. Also right before end, it gets very strange. You will see for yourself when you read.
Anyway I am glad I read the book and I do recommend it as a read but I can't promise you will like it!
Profile Image for John Morrison.
197 reviews5 followers
September 24, 2016
It will make you feel like you are living through this yourself. Very well written and gripping novel. I won this book through the giveaways.
Profile Image for Tony Parsons.
4,156 reviews73 followers
June 3, 2016
Ocean Park, CA. Luke Morrow’s (CTO, PhD, physics PhD, computer engineering, Princeton) life has gone from better to worse.
His Internet start-up Company went under & now Lisa has filed for divorce & is taking Trevor their son to live with her.
Luke does his best to have a part-time relationship with his son.
Romance well it never was a home run for him.
Lisa seems to have lots of relationship some marriage others just sex.
Luke lands a dead-end job at The Great Indoors as an appliance delivery manager.
What does Luke’s future hold?

This is the most bizarre book I’ve read in a long time.

Also Jacob M. Appel was in my thought process.

Warning: This book contains extremely graphic adult content, violence, or expletive language &/or uncensored sexually explicit material which is only suitable for mature readers. It may be offensive to some readers.

I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review, only an honest one. All thoughts & opinions are entirely my own.

A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very well written satire book. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a large set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great satire movie, or a mini TV series. There is no doubt in my mind this is a very easy rating of 5 stars.

Thank you for the free Goodreads; MakingConnections; Aqueous Books; Autographed; paperback book
Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)
Profile Image for Angela Holtz.
489 reviews7 followers
July 11, 2016
Lilac Wolf and Stuff

**I received a free digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

I'll say this, it's difficult to put down. It's incredibly fast past, at times too fast to follow what is going on. That doesn't really fit with how lengthy it also seems to be.

I'd call it Dude Lit, like the opposite of chick lit. It's entirely from Luke's perspective. He's a decent guy who makes poor decisions. He gambled his family's money on an internet idea that didn't pan out. In the resulting spiral, he lost his marriage. And while he tries to get back on top, he's still saddled with some bad luck and poor people skills. You can't help but notice how he doesn't treat people that great, and he feels like he deserves more than he gets. And this is while he's not the a**hole.

Then something very It's a Wonderful Life happens and Luke finds himself living a parallel life. You see all the same people, but he's even more of a self centered twat. He's willing to do anything, step on anyone to get what he wants. And he wants money and power. He marries the same girl, has the same boy, but his treatment of them both is completely different. There is nothing even remotely endearing about this guy.

To be honest, there wasn't much to like about the first version, either. Except he had empathy for the women in his life and he loves his son more than anything.

Not the best writing, kind of hard to follow a lot of the time. But it keeps moving, quickly and I just had to read it all the way through, even when I truly hated Luke. Trust me, you will hate him.
Profile Image for Antonio Marrero Jr.
54 reviews1 follower
June 16, 2016
I have to be honest, this book was just not for me. I liked part 1 and the last few pages but everything in between that was really just bland filling with hints of unintentional comedy.

Part 1 was good, I was getting into the characters, feeling bad for Luke and his struggles. The relationship Luke had with his son Trevor was fun and unique. There were a few parts that I thought were odd, like when Luke talking about all his online dates, but overall the first section of the book is good.

When Part 2 started I was interested, even with the whole God/Angel thing that was going on, and seeing Luke in a world that was opposite of what we read so far had a certain appeal to it. But in my opinion this lasted too long, I felt like information was being thrown at me with little care behind it. He bought this, then that, then this, then that. The slow growth of possessions and cycle of women coming and going got repetitive quick.

Not all of part 2 was bad though, there was some unintentional comedy in there. The way Luke treated people was mean and terrible but to be honest I found some of it funny because it was so over the top.

I think the author had a good idea and a good message to send, but the writing (which was too script-like in some places, something others have mentioned) and a huge portion of part 2 just wasn't for me.

I received this book through a GoodReads FirstReads giveaway.
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