Review: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a novel written by Gabrielle Zevin published in 2022. It tells the story of childhood friends across three decades as their lives connect and shift and change as they pursue their mutual dream of creating video games and the fallout and aftermath of their lives from the decision to work together. A simple premise that relates a complicated and complex story about identity, perception, creation, creativity, and through it all, love in its many forms. It may seem odd to attach so many themes to a singular novel, but it would be disingenuous and lacking to not as each theme interconnects and builds off one another in the characters and the story they create with each other and their friends and family within the the pages of Zevin’s book.

For such a basic story, it is also difficult to discuss many of the elements of the narrative without spoiling parts of the tale. Most of the actual plot revolves around the main duo, Sam and Sadie, reconnecting years after being lost childhood friends and deciding to build a video game together. The obstacles and conflict of the story is derived from both characters trying to find and define who they are with and in contrast to how they perceive themselves and each other. Both are trying to find success and rise above their perceived and given limitations: for Sam being physically disabled and an orphaned mixed race child and for Sadie being a woman in a male dominated field and vying for attention, validation, and a name for herself outside her friends, family, and lovers.

As the story and their lives progress, Sadie and Sam make terrible personal and professional choices, find massive success, get into romantic relationships (but never with each other), and ultimately realize how much they love and need one another regardless of how much they have hurt and harmed one another through the many years. This was one of the surprising and engaging aspects of the book: how flawed and foolish and utterly human these characters are. They are jealous and kind and loving and stubborn and idiotic and angry and content. Excusing the cliché, they contain multitudes, and throughout the many, many sides to Sam and Sadie, they realize that they are, and have always been to some extent, connected. They may never be lovers (the book ends on an ambiguous but hopeful not), but they will always love each other in a way that is deep in their bones and souls.

It is perhaps the major element that had me reading a nearly 400 page book in hours over the course of two days. These were the most ordinary and human characters in a uniquely average story. For several chapters, I found myself hating and/or loving Sam or Sadie. Often it was a mixture of both. And that throughout the chapters, I was still enthralled to continue reading even with this annoyance happening. Truly outside of one major event in the book (one which is sadly far more common than not), everything that happens in Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is rather mundane. Yet, that mundanity allows for the full complexity of the major characters and actors within the story. In essence, this book is the most realistic story I have every read that was not based in actual reality. And it is a story worth reading and experiencing.

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