There are some books you read that changes your perspective, puts a twist on your worldview or changes something as simple as your favorite genre. Maybe in Another Life did that for me. Usually, I like to give my own synopsis of a book that teeters on the line of spoilers and non-spoilery tidbits . But I’m going to use the back-of-the-book-summary and meet you on the other side.
From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.
At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.
Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?
In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?
Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.
If there is one thing I regret, it’s not reading the book in it’s entirety in one sitting. That is not to say that the story didn’t draw me in or that the pace was too slow or rushed because Taylor Jenkins Reid mastered the art of parallel timelines. This was on me. I was to busy focused on other things that it wasn’t until I had the time to sit down with no distractions, that I realized I couldn’t put it down.
First things first, everyone needs a Gabby in their life. Actually we should all strive for a friendship like Hannah and Gabby’s. Although the story was told from different “realms” created from different choices, one of the things that remained constant was their love and support for each other. In both “realms” Gabby and Hannah experience their own versions of tragedy and loss. But as long-time best friends, regardless of their own respective situations they were always there for each other. One would somehow find the silver lining for the other and vice versa.
“The way she says the word moron makes me feel more loved than I’ve felt in a long time. She says it as if I’d be a complete idiot to think I was ever alone. And to know that the idea is absolutely absurd to her, to know that it’s so far fetched as to make me a moron, it’s a nice feeling.”
All around, the story was well written. Character development was phenomenal. The reader was able to see Hannah become the best version of herself and Gabby find what she’d been searching for but never admitted to herself. The story development was also fantastic and for the most part not predictable. Reid had a way of bringing aspects of each “life” full circle, while simultaneously keeping me on the edge of my seat. Also, the pace matched the intensity and the calmness of each scene. Fast-pace when a scene called for it and steady when necessary.
It was a fun three dimensional read and I recommend this book to anyone who might be on their own respective journey’s of finding themselves and have played the what if game with major and minor decisions (so basically all humans). It’s an eye-opening experience to see two versions of an event play out with a mostly similar result in the end.