Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow: a book review
Full of hope, I requested an ARC of this book, and was pleasantly surprised when I received it. So, huge thanks to #Netgalley and #knopf/doubleday for the early copy and, yes, these comments are strictly my own.
This book is from the author who gave us the terrific award winning book The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. That book was a 5 star read for me so I was excited to get this book although the premise of video gaming isn't really my thing. Let me say up front that you don't have to be interested in gaming to be thoroughly caught up in this story. I couldn't wait to read the next page even when they were talking game strategies!
INTRODUCING SAM AND SADIE AND MARX
Sam and Sadie meet in the hospital when they are kids. Sam has been in a horrific accident and his foot is shattered so he's in and out of the hospital for surgeries and care; Sadie's sister is going through cancer treatments so she's also spending lots of time at the hospital. How do bored kids connect? Playing video games. Hour after hour, day after day, their friendship began around gaming.
Eventually, there's a falling out and they go their separate ways for awhile. They reconnect in college and gaming once again takes center stage in their lives. They create their first game together. And, they meet Marx, who is Sam's roommate. This is the beginning of a lifetime of loving friendships - though not always in sync friendship.
Marx comes from money and doesn't really have a life plan but finds himself drawn into a support role for Sadie and Sam, enabling them to focus on creativity. He sees the pain and struggles that Sam faces and tries to subtly help. He sees Sadie's creative brilliance and offers quiet encouragement and support. Kind of a perfect friend.
LIFE GOES ON
The story continues following the three friends as they become business partners, colleagues, famous game developers. They all move in and out of various romantic entanglements though the only one that has a lasting impact is Sadie's relationship with her computer/gaming instructor in college, Dov. A creator himself, he inserts himself into Sadie's life first as a mentor, then as a lover. I liked the way the story alternated POV between Sadie and Sam - it allowed me time "in" each character to better understand their perspective.
Through the years, Sadie and Sam continue to develop games, some more successful than others. Resentments and misunderstandings, lack of communication, all the things that can fester and hurt relationships, come into play. These 3 characters are smart, gifted, and flawed - flawed in very human ways which is depicted SO well.
They grow apart for a few years, life puts them back together, then apart - the on-again-off-again pattern did become a bit tiring, but really, that's a small complaint.
Like I said at the top, I'm not a gamer and barely know anything about the topic. It's definitely not necessary for the enjoyment of this book. In fact, I learned a bit about the creative process of inventing and developing a game, which I always take as a plus - teach me something AND entertain me - winner!
I thought the three main characters are so interesting - each with baggage, each with positive traits - just like real people. There's personal growth and regression. There were times I wanted to smack one of them upside the head and yell "think for a minute" or "explain yourself" or "talk to each other". And isn't that true to life? This story is thought-provoking and insightful; really just excellent storytelling. And even though I don't relate to video gaming at all, I do relate to friendship.
Have you read it? Do you agree with my view? Or did I inspire you to pick it up and read it? Let me know in the comments.