Sunday, October 22, 2023

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
  Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Publication Information:  Knopf. 2022. 416 pages.
ISBN:  0593321200 / 978-0593321201

Rating:  ★★

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Before Mazer invented himself as Mazer, he was Samson Mazer, and before he was Samson Mazer, he was Samson Masur - a change of two letters that transformed him from a nice, ostensibly Jewish boy to a Professional Builder of Worlds - and for most of his youth, he was Sam, S.A.M. on the hall of fame of his grandfather's Donkey Kong machine, but mainly Sam."

Favorite Quote:  "To allow yourself to play with another is no small risk. It means allowing yourself to be open, to be exposed, to be hurt. It is the human equivalent of the dog rolling on its back - I know you won't hurt me, even though you can. It is the dog putting its mouth around your hand and never biting dow. To play requires trust and love."

I discovered Gabrielle Zevin with A Storied Life of AJ Firky, which was a love letter to books and book lovers. Young Jane Young went to the world of women in politics and the gender divide. This book goes to the world of gaming and developers.

Sadie and Sam meet as children in a hospital. Both see friendship in the other and bond over games. A truth, a misunderstanding, and a lack of communication breaks the friends apart. Years later, the rediscover each other. Their shared interest and skills leads them to 

I love the world this book creates - the start of gaming, the development and evolution of games, and the community that developed around it. Video games today involve complex stories, digital art, and symphonic scores. It is fascinating to catch a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes of the creation.

I love the start of the book. It is sweet and heart wrenching. Two children are struggling with the challenges of their lives. They are thrown together by chance. They find the support they have needed in each other. At that point, the lack of communication between the two is understandable. They are children. One does not know. The other is afraid. The longer the lie of omission goes, the greater the fear. That is understandable in children, particularly those facing so many other challenges.

That being said, Sadie and Sam's characters - particularly Sadie's - never seem to progress beyond that point. Their cycle of friendship, a lack of communication or a miscommunication leading to a break in friending repeats in the book. Perhaps, that is the tomorrow of the title, and there are many tomorrows. In young adults and grown adults, that lack of communication is less understandable and frustrating. This book covers a lot of time but it is character and not plot driven. For that to work, the characters must evolve. Sadie and Sam - but especially Sadie - do not.

That being said, this book also includes a relationship between a married individual in a position of authority with a younger, impressionable individual in their authority. Not only does this relationship begin, but it lasts over a long period of time. It is presented as acceptable. Others see and do not comment or intervene even when the individual involved is someone they care about. Do such relationships exist? Yes, of course, they do. Should they be normalized as they seem to be in this story? To each their own, but in my opinion, no. That aspect of the book definitely interferes with my appreciation of it.

Sadly, while I enjoy the look at the world of gaming, this story was not for me.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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