Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, a review by Joanna

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🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,

Gabrielle Zevin

416 pages

Knopf Doubleday

Published July 5, 2022

I’m such a literary philistine that I didn’t recognise that the title Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, is from Shakespeare. Shame on me. Didn’t stop me loving it though! A contemporary novel about friendship in the world of video gamers, this was not an obvious choice for me as I’ve never been into gaming – it’s always seemed like a waste of valuable reading time. This is not to denigrate anyone that does play, it’s just not my thing, but this was not in any way a barrier to me becoming totally immersed in this lovely, elegant, compelling and moving book.

Sam and Sadie meet by chance as children in the mid-80s, and bond over loneliness, a shared geekiness and love of video games, becoming best friends. After a falling-out, they don’t speak again until they are both students in Boston, and join forces to start making the innovative games which will change their lives and make them rich. The book follows their ups and downs, loves and losses over the next twenty years, and explores the meaning of a unique friendship.

I had not previously heard of this author, but I loved her writing – even though I ended up having to look up more words and references than I have in years, and I actually appreciated the push to learn the actual meaning of words I knew but never fully understood, like ersatz, or the Strawberry Thief. Do not let this put you off! I thought her three main characters were brilliant – realistically flawed and emotionally scarred – Sam by his disability, Sadie by the unlikely stress of being a pretty girl trying to be taken seriously in a clever boy’s world. And don’t we all want a Marx in our lives? I also liked the realistic diversity of her cast of supporting characters.

It is a long book, but, unusually, I didn’t want it to end – in fact my initial reaction to the slightly muted ending was to feel a bit cheated, but on reflection, it’s perfect. I SO didn’t want this to turn into a romance, there are not enough books written about friendship, and so many bookish happy endings seem to be conditional on the guy and the girl getting together. While this is a book about young adults, it’s not YA, and probably will appeal most to fellow Gen-Xers, with all the nostalgic 80s & 90s pop culture references – even if the gaming ones went mostly over my head!

Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday for the ARC. I am posting this honest review voluntarily.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, is available now.

JOANNA

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