Book Reviews, Fiction, Literary

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

I truly wasn’t sure what to expect from Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I picked it up as an ARC because I’d seen it on a few must-read lists, but all I grasped from the previews was that it had to do with games, friendship, and, specifically, not romance. The blurb details —

…the multifarious nature of identity, games as artform, technology and the human experience, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love.

This should be a good hint of how very sprawling this book is.

Read on…

 I’m not a gamer, so I was hoping this wouldn’t be too niche. It turns out that, while the book is very much about gaming and immersed in the culture and industry, it’s all about the people.

Book cover for Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

This is a very, extremely, seriously character-driven book. It’s pretty long, and it’s not fast-paced by any means. That might be off-putting to people who like thrillers and quick reads with a lot of suspense. But, if you like a cerebral slow burn this may be more of your style. I kept putting it down and returning to it because I felt invested in Mazer and Sadie.

The plot is expansive, covering 30 years of a friendship and the various ways we come together and fall apart over decades. Sometimes the characters are very frustrating, but I think that’s entirely true to what anyone’s life would look like over time. If you’ve had a lifelong friend, and that friendship has been rocky in some places, you’ll see it reflected in Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.

Switching between narrators drives home how fallible we all are in presenting ourselves and thinking we’re showing up versus what other people see. Some of the unrequited love and longing felt gratuitous but again — that kind of jealousy and what-ifs and weirdness of being close with someone for decades is realistic.

Aspects of the writing read as overwrought and academic — there were a few times where I had to stop and think about how a word worked, which took me out of the story, and you know I hate that — but overall, a decent, heavy read. It’s the kind of book that will stick in your mind for a while.

(I also have to say that I love the Gen X vibe; I’m an elder Millennial, but the cultural references and attitudes of the characters are nostalgic as heck. Donkey Kong? Yes.)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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