Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow


I’m a generation too far removed to have embraced video games. The extent of my game knowledge comes from occasionally looking over Owen’s shoulder to see what’s on the screen and asking questions about the characters and game objectives.

Then I picked up the bestselling novel, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin. This easy-to-read and well-crafted story centers on Sadie and Sam, who meet in the hospital when they are children. Sadie is there visiting her sister who has cancer, and Sam is recovering from a car accident that crushed his foot and killed his mother. They bond over video games, lose touch over a personal slight, and reconnect when they run into each other in Boston during their college years (Harvard and MIT; smart kids).

They decide to create a video game together and it becomes a hit. A third person, Sam’s roommate, Marx, joins them and becomes their producer. They start a successful company.

I learned a lot about how games get made and how they are played—and it was all folded neatly into the narrative. But the heart of the story is the lifelong platonic relationship between Sadie and Sam. Each of them has enough insecurities, self-doubt, and lingering resentments that their relationship, both personally and professionally, runs hot and cold. Zevin handles their falling outs and reconciliations with a deft touch, probing their flaws and motivations.

A prolific writer, Zevin has also written young adult fiction, and youthful sensibility and themes are apparent in Tomorrow. The storytelling is simple yet absorbing, and the writing is basic yet thoughtful. The ending is obvious from a distance yet still satisfying. The title is a quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, signifying the brief meaningless of life, but the character Marx disagrees: “No loss is permanent, because nothing is permanent, ever,” he says. It’s like video games, where if you die, you can just start over again.

It was a pleasure reading this novel—except as it got closer to the end. I felt there was a misstep when a long chapter was devoted to describing actual gameplay from the point of view of the game characters. The technique stood in for the relationship between Sadie and Sam, but it wasn’t interesting. Maybe because I’m not a gamer?

4/5 Stars

By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


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