Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow | Review
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐.25
"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."
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a standalone fiction novel by Gabrielle Zevin.
This isn't really a book for me, and I knew that going into it. I think what ended up pushing me to give it a shot was the fact that a large part of the plot centres on video games. As someone who loves paying them, the concept intrigued me at least in that regard. The book is also heavily praised, and if there is a lot of hype I end up caving and reading it for curiosities sake. I will admit, I don't really get the hype. Was this a bad book, no, I actually didn't mind it. But do I think that it is as noteworthy and memorable as many reviewers make it out to be, also no?
Let's get into some details.
I don't have much to say in this section. I did find the writing to be a bit wordy at times, and the format of the story to be a bit difficult to grasp. What I mean by that is there is a lot of going back and forth in the story as this is more of a success story, with them being successful game developers in the future, or present, with them recounting their journey. I don't know why, but the back and forth was jarring to me. Other than that though, the story went by easily enough.
In Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, we follow Sam and Sadie, two childhood friends who reunite years after a disastrous end to their friendship and decide to pursue a future together in the game development industry. I've said it already and I will say it again, this book divided me because half of the concept I liked, while the other half I didn't. I rather enjoyed reading about Sadie's games, since they did genuinely seem interesting to play, but what I didn't like was Sadie herself.
The characters were a downside to this book, which is ironic considering that that is what drew most people to the story, not the video games. I thought this was going to be a very moving tale about friendship triumphing through all the odds, but it kind of wasn't. I found their friendship to be aggravating which, sure, the author does present a flawed friendship, but that doesn't really work for me because it just bothers me. There were a lot of ups and downs that could have possibly been fixed with some good choices, communication, self-reflection, and therapy. Does that happen though, of course not. The way the story culminated as well I didn't find to be very good as it felt very abrupt, like the story was building up to somewhere and then stops dead.
Overall though, I was here for video games but not for the friendships.
The characters at times were very frustrating to read. I know that it is intentional as it is the point to have characters who aren't perfect as individuals and whose relationships are complex and flawed as well. For me (so this is highly subjective), I don't care to read about characters like that, who reflect reality. As an escapist reader who liked fantasy and OP characters, I would prefer to not follow characters who make me want to punch some sense into them because they are behaving illogically. That's just me though...
I will go into more specifics, starting with Sadie who had many red flags. She really was not it for me as she was a character that didn't start out great and had barely any growth after that. We initially meet her when she was younger and volunteering at Sam's hospital where he was being treated. So, their initial relationship was based on her hangout out with a sick patient to rack up volunteer hours without telling him. Great start, and it doesn't get better. The next red flag is the fact that she ended up in a relationship with her married teacher. In general, she was just really bad at handling anything emotional, and would oftentimes shut herself out from other people which wasn't really fair to Sam who went out of his way to make sure she was okay. She just really needed to get her priorities straight and never does.
I also just wasn't invested in the characters in general, with Sam being a bit on the bland side and Marx just being, well, there, existing with not much presence or not nearly enough impact on the story as he should have. And, as I already alluded to, the relationships between them are just messy. A lot of the arguments between Sam and Sadie were very immature considering they are grown adults, and it was kind of annoying to have to read about them being petty and unable to control their emotions.
Despite my not liking the characters very much, I still think that this, surprisingly, wasn't a bad book. Again, the characters weren't great, especially considering that this is pitched as a love story which, no it isn't.
I think what it came down to were the video games which ended up saving this book a bit for me. I thought the games that they developed were genuinely interesting, and I would love to play them myself. That is why I bumped the rating up a bit by .25 stars. If you are not a huge fan of video games then maybe you might not like this too much, but maybe you will enjoy the story for the characters instead.