Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is a pure delight. The best book I have read all year, and now one of my favorites ever. Zevin is the author of one of my other favorite books of all time, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, I was so excited to hear about this book especially when I discovered it was about video game designers.
The story starts when Sam and Sadie meet in a play area in a hospital. Sam is undergoing treatment for a severe foot injury (one requiring years of surgeries and recoveries) and Sadie is visiting her cancer stricken sister. They spend hours playing video games together. The story picks up later when Sam is at Harvard and Sadie at MIT. Sam’s roommate Marx joins them as they start a video game business.
I loved these three main characters. I was thrilled with their successes, and crushed by their failures, I didn’t want their story to end. Even the secondary characters are great – Sam’s doting grandparents (owners of a pizza place in K-town LA), the gay video game designers they work with (who at one point get married), and the video game professor who had a hit game years before (who dates his young female students).
At one point the characters talk about how perfect their timing was, how earlier they wouldn’t have had the tools to create a video game and how later the game industry would have been too crowded and competitive. This is the brilliance of Zevin, setting the story at just the right time. The book spans time from their childhood meeting until they are in their mid 30’s.
Zevin also has a great sense of place, as her characters live at various times on both coasts, and she captures both Boston and LA at that time so well. Zevin also creates several video game worlds (the games Sam, Sadie, and Marx create), which you can really visualize, these games are clever and fun (with a few Easter eggs from famous video games).
In her afterward, Zevin says this is a story about work, but also a story about love. I totally agree, it is a story about love, a story about friendship, a story about loss, a story about our changing society, a story about overcoming obstacles, and a story about collaboration.
If you enjoy video games you will especially enjoy this book, but I also think it is a book for everybody!