From Publishers Weekly
As he approached 40, veteran journalist Kita (Wisdom of Our Fathers) decided to revisit his greatest missed opportunities. It's a terrific conceit and, within the limits of his 20 specific regrets (from "losing my hair" to "working my life away"), Kita pulls it off with wit and aplomb. After two months of conditioning, he works out with his alma mater's high school basketball team and is told that this time he wouldn't have been cut. He and his wife attend a workshop for lovers (for which he happily paid $1,000 and would do so again before spending another $10 on a Viagra pill), allowing them to have "the best sex of our married livesand with each other, no less." They also renew their vows in a ceremony far more satisfying than their overstressed wedding. Even when his quests don't pan out, Kita finds peace: so what if he can't recover that first Camaro, or if that woman he was too shy to approach in college won't return his letter? Basically a happy guy (okay, without those elusive washboard abs), Kita doesn't often stray toward seriousness, though he laments not having said good-bye to his father, who died at 62 (and tries to revisit him via a psychic); he also takes a day trip with his Mom to try to repair some long-standing rifts. In his conclusion, Kita lists some regrets he hasn't yet pursued that might make for a deeper challenge (e.g., moving out of the valley in Southeastern Pennsylvania where he's lived all his life and becoming fluent in a foreign language). Though he achieves some heady moments of satisfaction and introspection, some readers may be left wishing that Kita, who never in his 40 years has found a hero more compelling than Jack LaLanne, had written a darker, more thoughtful book.
What a facinating premise! The author takes a look at his life and tries to correct the decision points that caused him later regret. As the story opens, he is trying out - again - for his high school basketball team. As we progress he tries to track down his high school sports car, researches hair replacement therapy, goes back to church, searches for the girl he was afraid to ask out in college, and so forth. I found it entertaining and insightful.
Joe Kita has had a good life. He has been happily married for more than 15 years and has two beautiful children. He is a successful journalist. He has lots of friends. Still, nearing 40, he wondered about missed opportunities: What would have happened if I had asked out that co-ed? What if I didn't get cut from my high school basketball team? What if I'd been nicer to my dog?
Afraid of having the same pangs of regret at age 80, and no longer satisfied leaving good times to chance, Kita deliberately revisted 20 crossroads in his life and tried to relive them. In Another Shot, he chronicles his crazy year with humor and inspiration. Along the way, he gets to the bottom of what happened to his first car - a beautiful 1979 Camaro - and ponders whether choices really matter and what determines one's place in the world.
Some of Kita's adventures border on the absurd: Never having the chance to fire a real gun, he enrolls in a shooting school. Not ever being filthy rich, Joe hires a Romanian butler to experience the lifestyle. Other stops on his journey are more common to men his age: He's lost his hair and he wants it back. His sexual peak came and went without him.
Regardless of the original regret and its final "outcome", each experience alters Kita's perspective and will alter yours too. A poetic narrative organized by regret, Another Shot provides an insightful glimpse into the life and mind of a regular guy. It's a tumultuous journey But Joe Kita is hilarious, insightful, and most of all, inspiring enough to make you ponder: Why not give it another shot?