Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow – Gabrielle Zevin

Published By: Chatto and Windus
Pages: 416
Released On: 14/07/2022

Two kids meet in a hospital gaming room in 1987. One is visiting her sister, the other is recovering from a car crash. The days and months are long there. Their love of video games becomes a shared world — of joy, escape and fierce competition. But all too soon that time is over.

When the pair spot each other eight years later in a crowded train station, they are catapulted back to that moment. The spark is immediate, and together they get to work on what they love – making games to delight, challenge and immerse players, finding an intimacy in digital worlds that eludes them in their real lives. Their collaborations make them superstars.

This is the story of the perfect worlds Sadie and Sam build, the imperfect world they live in, and of everything that comes after success: Money. Fame. Duplicity. Tragedy.

*****

You know when you get a book that is being raved about and it’s in contention as one of the best books of the year, or of all time, and you simply MUST read it……and then you start reading it and you end up finding it really rather boring?

Yeah, that’s this one for me.

My reading habits ebb and flow but I can usually get through a book in 1-2 days, a matter of hours in some cases. But this one, I just found it so slow and bitty and jarring, and when I looked down I realised I’d only read 86 pages in the same time as it’s taken me to read a whole book in the past. It’s about 400 pages. My ideal book length is about 300-350 so it wasn’t much more but it felt like it went on forever. There’s a lot of filler and I feel it could have been much shorter.

Now, I have little interest in video games and that world, which may be a reason why this didn’t appeal to me. I have played video games, but I’m not that enthusiastic about them. Having said that, I don’t have any knowledge or interest in a lot of topics but it doesn’t necessarily put me off a book. If it’s well written, then that mysterious topic will be explored in a very user friendly way and you don’t feel yourself stopping every so often to try and figure out what they’re talking about. But a great deal of this book, I found myself scanning the page as I just wasn’t interested in the ins and outs of computer games, and in my opinion, it wasn’t written well enough for me to get lost in the storyline, video games or otherwise.

Looking at other reviews, it does appear that I’m in the minority but I think the best way to describe this book to me was flat. The writing, the story, the characters, their motives – it all just felt very meh. And whilst I’m glad I read all the way to the end, I wouldn’t have minded if I’d given up beforehand.

I asked my fellow readers what they thought of it. Some people said it was one of the best things they’d ever read, some said they liked it, some said it was okay, some said it started slow but got better about half way. I’m sorry but I don’t want to wait 200 pages for a book to get better. A book needs to grab you far earlier than that.

I do admit, that it did pick up a bit around halfway. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I liked it or that it got better, it was more that it got less bad. But I feel that’s too far in, people will give up before they get to that point.

I know this is going to sound weird, and I know as a book about video game designers there will be a lot of plot about video games and video game designers, I accept that. And I accept that I have very little interest in that world. But a good book needs more than that. The plot, the characters, the setting, the emotion – it’s all video games, and that gets very boring very quickly. There needs to be some reflection or contradiction or twists in it to liven it up, as it’s all one dimensional.

I felt there was no flow to the story either. It felt like it was a book of two halves, the tone and the feel of the plot and characters was unrecognisable from the first half to the second which confused me a bit.

I’m sorry but this just wasn’t up to the standard I thought it would be. But looking at the 15,000+ reviews online I would definitely say I’m in the minority.

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