21 Aug 2023



Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Series: N/A
Source: Book of the Month
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: July 5, 2022

Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

Representation: Korean-American characters, gay side characters, Jewish characters

In this exhilarating novel, two friends--often in love, but never lovers--come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn't heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won't protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin's Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.
Amazon | Chapters
Content Warning: Teacher-student relationship, Suicide, Childhood cancer, Death of a parent, Workplace shooting, Car accident, Harry Potter reference (brief), Hospital settings, Chronic Pain, Health Neglect, Racism, Slurs, Homophobia, Amputation, Discussions around Appropriation, Abortion, Abuse, Dubious consent, Dissociating, Blood, Disordered Eating, Fatphobia, 911 mention, Captivity, Vomit, Gun Violence, Sexism, Sexual Assault

I thought this was a time travel book so my bad for going into this with a completely different headspace than what it actually ended up being. I love video games and the details that went into this around development, design, and marketing were really interesting. But then... the relationship aspect was not what I wanted.

In terms of the writing, I didn't enjoy the "flash forwards" and interview scripts. So much of the writing and narration of this book felt out of place because it jumped through storylines, through perspectives, and through time without much meaning behind it. There was also a lot of flowery writing when it could have easily been said in a much shorter and concise way. The interviews never actually made sense in the greater context either because when we got to that point in time, we never saw the interview happen or even the conversations of those interviews happen with the characters. Nothing to lead up to that or be a part of it in the storytelling, so it just felt weird to include it.

But my biggest gripe is around how the book handled all of the content warnings I listed.

The book tried to handle several topics around racism, homophobia, and the government in general, but it always felt like it missed. It seemingly was dealt with and downplayed in different ways. Sam could never quite understand why Sadie was upset about not being seen as the developer/programmer and the "well we'll fix legalizing same-sex marriage by having it in our video game" only to have that be the cause of the workplace shooting was.... an interesting way to frame it.

I also thought they rug swept the conversations around appropriation as a "well if we had made this in a different time maybe we wouldn't have done this." And the whole conversation about new generations being comfortable talking about their trauma and how their trauma is part of their creative outlet, which was made to seem like it was said sarcastically or with distaste, made me super uncomfortable. Why shouldn't people use their trauma to fuel them forward instead of being capsized by it?

And to cap it all off, any time any of these things were mentioned (like Sam being overly possessive, the homophobia and shooter scenario, Dov literally sexually assaulting Sadie, etc.) were brushed off by the narrative. Yeah, they "acknowledged" it but then everyone just moved forward as if it didn't happen. Sadie and Dov remained FRIENDS because of how much the narration jumped through hoops to not acknowledge the sexual assault and downplay the abuse - physical, emotional, and position of power - that Dov had over Sadie.

I feel like I read a completely different book from everyone else, if I'm being honest. There was nothing compelling in this story to me.

Have you read this book? Are you going to pick this up?

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