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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Regrets? Yes, I’ve had a few. And so had Men’s Health writer Joe Kita, until he decided to revisit 20 of his sorriest decisions. “I determined what would be my greatest laments, the opportunities I’d most regret missing, the moments where I’d wish I had another shot,” he explains. “I backtracked to each one in order to give myself a second chance.” Kita’s quest takes him from school team tryouts to a long-dormant college crush, as he determines once and for all What Might Have Been.
Kita’s odyssey begins in a high school gymnasium, traditional site of early disgraces. There, he suits up for a winter season of sprint suicides, ball calls, and scrimmages with the Notre Dame Crusaders -- his local high school basketball team. “Beyond restoring some long-lost pride, the goal of this absurd experiment is to assess firsthand what a man loses and gains with age,” Kita writes. “I’d like to think I’m smarter than I was in high school. But even if I am, is this of any value when I’m squared off against a snake-quick senior point guard who spots the open lane?” Kita’s tryout tales are hilarious -- especially his run-ins with the team’s sly coach -- but they’re also illuminating. Can you win a game through sheer effort? Or do you have to accept, after all, that your skill depends on God-given abilities?
Questions like these inform every escapade in the memoir: The author’s journey, funny and foolish as it is, reads as a heroic assault on foregone conclusions. Kita busts a gut crunching for washboard abs; he begs for a date with a woman he shyly avoided in college; he sniffs out God in every church around. In each case, Kita insists on taking control. Some of his efforts are painful -- like his stilted attempt to reconnect with his mother -- and some are downright kooky. For example, when Kita decides not to accept his premature baldness, he heads to the Hair Club for Men for a quick fix. “I [felt] like a hairless pilgrim about to enter Jerusalem,” Kita tells us nervously. But when the Club’s glue-on toupees unnerve Kita, he retreats to the Minardi Salon for a simple dye job instead. The result? “Disappointingly...no strangers ask to run their fingers through my flaxen mane,” Kita shrugs. “I am what I am.” Sometimes, taking control changes your life; sometimes it just reaffirms what must be.
Another Shot fulfills everyone’s favorite daydream: to do it again, but this time with more style. It’s an openhearted memoir, full of wit and insight; but more importantly, it will change the way that readers approach their lives. Which choices do you regret? What would happen if you didn’t accept those choices but changed them? “To go back to the turning points of life, to stand no longer confused at its busy crossroads, is to truly be born again,” Kita promises. His story prompts us to get more out of life -- and puts redemption in our own hands. (Jesse Gale)