Review of This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
Straub offers a wonderful story that plays with time, explores sentimental moments, offers do-overs, and sweeps the reader into a love-filled, hopeful heartbreaker of a tale.
"...no one ever talked to me about it, that's for sure--what it feels like to love someone so much, and then have them change into someone else. You love that new person, but it's different, and it all happens so fast, even the parts that feel like they just last for fucking ever while they're happening."
On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice’s job, apartment, and love life are solidly okay. The only dark spot in her life is her father’s grave illness.
When she wakes up the next morning...it’s her 16th birthday again. And it isn't just that being in her teen body again shocks her, or that seeing her high school crush is jarring. It's incredible to see her healthy, vital, young dad.
Knowing what she does about the future, would Alice change the past?
I am a huuuuuuge fan of books that play with time, and Straub offers up all the best parts of a time-travel book in This Time Tomorrow. Alice gets to live as her young self again, with the benefit of adult wisdom but temporarily carefree. She gets do-over chances and plays with how various decisions shift her potential future. She treasures and basks in the glorious, beautiful, temporary moments that shaped her. She soaks in time with her healthy, vital father.
This Time Tomorrow indulged my own personal desire for sentimentality, while also emphasizing the value of cutting to the heart of a situation without wasting time. The story offers up lots of loving moments as well as perfectly imperfect decisions and mistakes. The story is heartbreaking and lovely in its ultimate insistence that one must let go of the past.
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Emma Straub is also the author of The Vacationers, All Adults Here, Modern Lovers, and other books.
If you like books that play with time, you might also enjoy the books on the Greedy Reading List Six Second-Chance, Do-Over, Reliving-Life Stories.