“A Chance to Love” by Jestina Hodge-Pais

“A Chance to Love” by Jestina Hodge-Pais 1000 1000 Reader Views Kids

A Chance to Love

Jestina Hodge-Pais
Independently Published (2023)
ISBN: 979-8387052620
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (09/2023)

The term “family” has various definitions, depending on the person asked and their life experiences. Veering more toward “traditional,” a family would include a dad, mom, and at least one child; maybe grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, too. A more “modern” view could be any number of people included – the options of dual/single parents, being a hetero- or homo-sexual couple, and friends who provide support and encouragement might be on the list, as well. While individual situations aren’t perfect, and people have little control over other’s actions and decisions, it is no secret that the most secure and foundational “family” includes two loving parents who teach the child(ren) verbally and nonverbally, both socially and emotionally.

“A Chance to Love” by Jestina Hodge-Pais is the story of a young girl, Kiconco, preparing for her tenth birthday. So many emotions and thoughts are going through her head when planning her party. Adding to this anxiety is her concern about whether her dad will attend – that sounds like a stressful situation. It is unclear whether her parents are divorced or separated, but regardless, Kiconco does not have her father involved in her life. Uncertain thoughts are on repeat in her mind – does he love her? Why doesn’t he show or try to see her? Why do her friends’ fathers have a role in their lives, but not for her? Is there something wrong with her? She silently repents any wrongdoing she might have unknowingly done toward him, but nothing done makes any difference – all she wants is her father! With effective communication with some adults, she healthily talks about the situation and assists with a solution – she receives her birthday wish!

Unfortunately, Kiconco’s situation is not uncommon for too many children. Every individual experiences “big” emotions at some point/many points (secondary reactions) in their lives. Knowing and understanding how to work through them to achieve a solution to the underlying/initial reaction (hurt, disappointment, frustration) is the ultimate goal in allowing negative situations the chance to turn positive. Kiconco became upset (age and situationally appropriate); she engaged in communication and remained calm (coping skills) when talking about the uncomfortableness, allowing the result to be a relationship with her father. The family had to do work to keep things running smoothly (family therapy), showing readers that it’s not an immediate change but a gradual learning process with exploration of feelings and intentions.

“A Chance to Love” is a heartbreaking story for any parent; this situation is present and resides within more families than readers realize – but it needs to be known and brought out in the open to allow for positive change. “A Chance to Love” by Jestina Hodge-Pais should be read by every parent; they don’t need mental or relational experience, just an open mind to what’s around them and the options available – this could change a child’s life by ensuring them that they matter and are loved, no matter the outcome.   

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