Maybe in Another Life
By: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
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.
I think it was last summer or the summer before that a lot of book bloggers just happened to have read this book around the same time 😛 Anyway I’m always a sucker for books about what-ifs and stories that have that Sliding Doors element (one of my favourite movies–definitely worth checking out if you haven’t seen it) so I knew I had to check out this book. It took me a while but I finally got around to reading it xD
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this book when I started reading it. It read like your typical, dare I say, chick-lit (for lack of a better descriptive word), characters and everything. Maybe it was because it had been a while since I’ve settled into a fiction novel and I was perhaps daring the book to impress me after hearing so much about it. But it wasn’t until the stories diverged between the two alternate courses that the story really started getting interesting and some of the deeper themes that I hoped the book would discuss started making its point.
And in the end I enjoyed it. There were a few elements of this book–I won’t say which bits–really struck home for me and that I really related to. There were also a few points that the story–in both iterations–made that were good reminders about life (I suppose it helps that Hannah and I are in the same age group so I can really relate to some of the bigger questions that she finds herself posing); there were a lot of great quotes in the latter half of the book. And it was just fun to see how certain scenarios were the same and how some where different. Is everything down to chance and the decisions you make or are some things fated to be? It could’ve made for a much more complex story–it seemed Hannah’s life was the only one that was radically changed based on that one decision whilst characters like Gabby and her sister Sarah relatively turned out the same in both stories.
Maybe In Another Life is a pretty light and easy read but is one of those examples, in my case, of a book that comes along at the right time. I thought it had a slow start but it really picked up once the stories diverged and definitely had that Sliding Doors vibe to it. Anyway, it made for a great summer read and I’ve started recommending it to my best friends 🙂