Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is, at its heart, a story of friendship. Friendship is having a bit of a ‘moment’ right now in pop culture. I’ve read countless articles and stories lately focussed on friendship – in particular, the fallout when it goes sour. Ghosting of friends, friendship fights, friendship betrayals, friendship breakups… It’s something of an epidemic at the moment and seems to be a real theme in my circles. Perhaps it’s just this phase of my life.. the 30s, when people are marrying, reproducing, and getting incredibly busy. But I stand by my hot take: friendship is having a moment.
Enter: Sadie and Sam, and the story of their friendship spanning 25 years, and their shared love and passion for gaming. It’s the mid-90s in the start of their story, and the two meet in the saddest of places: a children’s hospital. Sadie is there because her sister is receiving treatment for cancer. Sam is there because he’s receiving ongoing treatment after surviving a terrible car accident (his mother was not so lucky). When life is too big to manage, the release of games is soothing. It’s much easier to pass a controller back and forth and stare at a screen, than to pass traumas back and forth and stare into each other’s eyes. But gaming together forms its own bond, and opens the door to genuine intimacy. Thus, Sadie and Sam’s lives begin to intermingle.
The friendship that follows is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are periods of estrangement, love triangles, professional disagreements, and jealousies. But in amongst all this, Sam and Sadie translate their love of games, and their fondness of each other, into a creative gaming career… and into art.
You don’t have to be a ‘gamer’ to love this book, but being of that ilk did make this story all the more close to me. The only other ‘gamer’ novel I’ve read before is Ready Player One (let us not speak of the sequel…), but this story could not be further from that pop cultural laden adventure. This is something else entirely.
I relished the time I spent with Sam, Sadie, Marx, and even awful Dov – each a complex and uniquely human character. I’ll clearly need to seek out more of Zevin’s work, as this was a home run for me.
Overall: 5 out of 5 rescued Tuesdays.
Such a beautiful, thoughtful, moving, inspiring, and unique book. Definitely one of my top reads of 2023.