Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

I resisted this book for a long time, partly put off by the fact that everybody mentioned gaming and how integral that was to the story and I am not a gamer. It also was chosen as a book by celebrity book groups again and again and it felt like it was everywhere. However, having read it I really was surprised at my level of enjoyment.

The book is about gaming – I know so much more about how games are developed after reading this and about literary gamers, those who read and who include books and their ideas in games. I know much more about the engines that are needed to drive them and about the process of creating one. At times it felt like you write the book and then create the game. But really gaming is just the vehicle in this book that shows life to be what it is without infinite endings and what love can be.

Sam and Sadie first meet as children in hospital where Sam is having surgery on his foot following a car accident where his mother is killed and Sadie is in daily visiting her sister who has cancer. At some point a kind nurse suggests Sadie spend the afternoon in the gaming room and there she meets Sam and plays games on one computer with him even after her sister has left hospital. They then fall out and drift apart only to meet again and Sam suggests that they create a game together. This then is the pattern of their life and like computer games offers them a chance to stop the game of life, get off and do something else and then come back and repeat the experience but in a slightly different way. And so throughout the book we get snippets where life is like a game and games which are like life. When Sam’s mother Anna died Sam becomes depressed and round and round in his head he gets the ‘What if…? question which can be answered in games but not always in real life.

Sam, in the silent months after Anna’s death,would obsessively replay this scene in his head. If she doesn’t take the job on Press that Button! and if Anna can’t afford to buy the new car. If Anna buys the new car but drives directly home after dinner. If the first Anna Lee doesn’t jump from that building and if Anna never comes to Los Angeles. If Anna doesn’t stop driving after hitting the coyote. If Anna finds the emergency lights. If Anna never sleeps with George. If Sam is never born. There are, he determines infinite ways his mother doesn’t die that night and only one way she does.


One of the occasions that Sam and Sadie fall out, they are unable to reconnect because the fallout is so great but Sam really wants to so he creates a game he knows Sadie will love and waits for her to play it. What you get in the book is the outline of the game which then turns into Sadie playing the game and is very tender and romantic. This part did make me shed a tear.

They are however, destined to remain friends who love each other rather than lovers and in a circular motion, just like a game, the end finishes the same way that their creating story starts.

I did think as I read this that it felt more like a Young Adult novel not because of the gaming, I really enjoyed that part, but because of the way it is written, the obviousness of what it is saying and the directness with which it says it. I don’t really know what the definition of YA novels is but this definitely felt like one. A highly enjoyable read.

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