Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review: Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Rating: 4.25 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him."

Review: Have you ever seen that Gweneth Paltrow film Sliding Doors?  The one that shows two different timelines, depending on whether she catches or misses her train home?  This is kind of like a book version of that idea, but (I think) better because it more effectively delves into the deep stuff.

In both timelines Hannah Martin experiences a lot of personal growth and maturing.  I loved comparing what her different experiences taught her, and how they changed her.  I liked how she was a slightly different version of herself in the end of both timelines.  I stressed a little at first because I thought maybe one timeline was the "real" timeline, and the other was just a "what if" scenario, and couldn't tell which timeline I wanted to be the "real" one.  But I needn't have worried, because both timelines are just as valid.  

It really made me wonder how each of my little decisions each day are shaping my future.  It also made me contemplate how my past has shaped me.  I mean, I'm a pretty decisive, deliberate person, but was there something in my past that made that so?  Or was that a predetermined character trait that would have manifest itself regardless of my upbringing?  And what can I do to ensure that I have the happiest version of my future?  Or is it all up to fate?

These are the kinds of questions Reid makes you consider in this book.  But before you think it's all just one big philosophy lesson, rest easy.  This book is actually really funny.  Hannah is lovable without being perfect, and the rest of the cast is just as delightful to be around.  Plus, this book is surprisingly short.  Ms. Reid packs a lot of fun and humor and interesting ideas in very few pages.

I really like this author's writing style: short, funny, and thought-provoking. I like that she introduces a lot of questions (this time about fate, destiny, choice, and soul mates) without trying to answer those questions. She lets the reader form their own opinions.  I'd be curious to hear yours.

It made me laugh and it made me think. A fun, solid book that I think you should read.  

Review in a GIF:
clapping michelle obama sotu flotus state of the union address

4 comments:

  1. I've seen this book around and wondered about it. I think you've just convinced me to give it a go.

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    1. I hope you do! I think TJR is one of the most underrated authors I've come across, and would be so happy if I could help more people discover her work.

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  2. This sounds like a fun book. I love the idea of exploring how the decisions we make affect our lives.

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    1. It really made me think about exactly that! It's the perfect balance between fun and witty and deep and thought-provoking.

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