To Venus and Back

One Man's Quest to Rediscover Love

Non-Fiction - Memoir
374 Pages
Reviewed on 01/04/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

To Venus and Back – One Man’s Quest to Rediscover Love is a work of non-fiction in the memoir subgenre. It is aimed at mature readers and was penned by author Turner Grant. The book follows the experiences of the author two years after losing his wife and becoming a single parent as he seeks love in a world that he doesn’t recognize from his years of dating as a young man. In the landscape of digital dating, he meets many single women who lead him on a complicated adventure to the new world and possibly even his new future.

Memoirs like this are exceptionally hard to come by, ones that take a topic familiar to many and dive deeply into the personal impact of the topic through a frank and open willingness to share by the author. Turner Grant leaves nothing off the table as he shares his odyssey through the world of mid-life digital dating, candidly writing about every experience so that we may learn from his experiences. I was frequently taken aback by the details being shared with me, and it made the experience of reading this book feel akin to two friends sitting down together to discuss the trials and tribulations of their lives. Alongside this wonderful willingness to share is a gift for a particularly delightful brand of prose that allows the author to move seamlessly between the heavy and impactful moments of life and the lighter, more amusing moments. Overall, To Venus and Back is an engaging and appealing read for those interested in romance stories grounded in the real world.

Foluso Falaye

After two years of grieving the loss of his wife, Turner Grant decided to give love another try in the vast world of online dating. Since he had been married for 20 years before this, he was seriously unprepared for what he discovered about dating single women online. In To Venus and Back: One Man's Quest to Rediscover Love, Turner Grant narrates his challenging online dating experience involving 54 single, middle-aged women. With age comes accumulated responsibilities and emotional triggers. It was no surprise that when the middle-aged architect started dating again, he encountered several hurdles. When one factors in how different women and men are, and the problematic online world, one can expect to see even more hurdles - such as distance, glamorized pictures, family responsibilities, hasty judgment, and unreasonable expectations. Turner experienced all this and more in his three-year online dating odyssey.

It's enlightening, intriguing, and surprisingly hilarious! Prepare to meet three funny imaginary friends and their takes on different circumstances, like finding out that his date saw ghosts and going on a date that was completely businesslike and unfriendly. With its deeply immersive and perceptive style of narration, the book enables the reader to experience the story as if in real time. To Venus and Back will appeal to readers who are curious about how dating is currently being transformed with technology from the perspective of a middle-aged single father. The way Turner Grant wrote about such a sensitive topic inspired me not to shy away from sharing my story because it might connect to someone out there - as this book did to me. I thought dating would get easier after my late twenties. Boy, was I wrong!

Vincent Dublado

At the end of Turner Grant’s To Venus and Back: One Man's Quest to Rediscover Love, he quotes a popular adage about romantic relationships: Love isn’t something that you find; it’s something that finds you. Does this mean that he gives up on finding love in the end? His book title alludes to the bestselling book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. As the author went through a three-year odyssey to find a new future in life and love, he explores the possibility of finding it in the world of digital dating. His journey has figuratively taken him to Venus, where he learns a few invaluable facts. In three years, he met fifty-four women, each with a personality that, in his own words, was incredibly divergent. While he finds that the connections he made are all amazing and intense, does he find the right one?

A considerable period of time spent on Venus has given Turner Grant a good story to share with everyone, especially for those who have similarly attempted to find a new life and love in the digital dating world. He confesses that writing about one’s experience isn’t easy, but his narrative seems to contradict this, as his first-person point of view reflects a smooth, passionate drive to share his truth about a particular aspect of our lives that we try to fill. It’s a highly relatable story, one that will make you connect with Turner as he feels lost and disoriented, following the death of his wife of twenty years. So does he find a new person to love besides his twin boys? If there is anything about To Venus and Back that is reassuring, it is that Turner’s experience demonstrates how technology will never replace real human connections. If you are growing tired of looking for a new relationship in what you feel are the wrong places, read this feel-good story.

Pikasho Deka

Plagued by grief and sorrow, Turner Grant spent two years shutting out the world around him after the tragic passing of his wife. When he finally becomes ready to find someone to spend the rest of his life with, he quickly discovers that the dating world has changed irrevocably in the last two decades. Turner's foray into online dating opens him up to a diverse array of experiences with women he could never imagine. Over the course of three years, Turner meets fifty-four different women across various online platforms in his search for love. To Venus and Back provides an overview of some of Turner's romantic encounters with some truly memorable women, each of whom left a mark on him in their own unique way. He eventually comes to the conclusion that "Love isn't something you find; it's something that finds you."

To Venus and Back is a fascinating read about a middle-aged man's foray into the online dating scene in his quest to rediscover love. Author Turner Grant gives an unfiltered account of his dating experiences as a man searching for his ideal partner. A Harvard alumni who worked for years as an architect in Boston, Turner also ran for Congress and is a capable ballroom dancer. Plainly speaking, he had no problems drawing the attention of women. But along this journey, he learns that weaving dates at different levels of progression is clearly a skill set necessary for online dating. Overall, I found To Venus and Back to be a captivating and illuminating read.

Philip Van Heusen

To Venus and Back: One Man’s Quest to Rediscover Love by Turner Grant is not about restoring love after it has been lost. Turner authored this book to give insight into finding love after a traumatic event. After a couple of years of widowhood, he began to ease himself back into the dating world. This book contains stories about his various dates and the events surrounding them. Turner knows how to treat a woman and openly shares what he does. He has invited the reader into his inner circle and opened the door to his dating life and does not hold back on the details. Turner shows the ins and outs of modern dating for those a little older, from necking on public steps to dating over Skype. There are many ways to find someone to date, and I believe that Turner tried them all.

When one loses their spouse to death, how are they supposed to move on with living? In To Venus and Back, Turner Grant gives plenty of examples. I enjoyed reading Turner’s stories of using computer dating sites because I met my wife of 44+ years through a Christian correspondence club before the days of computers. Reading this date log will help you know what to watch out for as you move forward after a death or divorce. At the end of the book, Turner shares some of the things he learned. They include the fact that dating and relationships are complicated. Another lesson is that being middle-aged comes with baggage. Also, it is not wise to over-analyze. Turner met fifty-four women but only made real connections with four or five. Finally, understand that true love is often elusive even with modern dating sites.