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  • Writer's pictureDesi

This Time Tomorrow: A Book Review

Alright, alright, alright! Hey guys! I hope you are having a fine day today. If not, I'm sorry. I hope this little book review can melt away any stress you may be experiencing. Take your mind off your reality for a while.

The first book I read for 2023 was a book called This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub. She has written other books you may have heard of, The Vacationers, All Adults Here and Other People We Married. I had bought this book sometime in 2022 during a book haul I had done earlier in the year, most likely in the summer.

A little back story on how I stumbled on this book. I remember looking for books that had to do with father daughter relationships. I was planning on writing more about my father and I wanted to read books that established it well in the fiction context. This book was one of them. For NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in November) I decided I was going to write my memoir. I know you read the word memoir and automatically think of a controversal tell-all (*ahem* prince harry) I mean I could go that route but it wouldn't be scandalous. I wanted to write more about my father and how I felt/feel closer to him AFTER he passed away. It had me reflecting on how I was growing up and how it was in general growing up. It was very healing to start writing.

Anywho, this was one book I was looking forward to read. I knew it would be a tearjerker for sure.

So the premise of the story is that a woman named Alice, who lives a pretty good life, nice boyfriend, good job, best friend from high school is still a part of her life, only her fathers health is declining and she has to come to grips of living the rest of her life without him. However, on her fortieth birthday she finds herself warped back in time to her sixteenth birthday, when her father was younger and healthier.

So, with that information I'll ask you guys, what would you do if you could travel to the past?

I don't want to give too much away so I'll stop there as far as what the book is about. It's written in 3rd person limited, which means that it is told in the point of view of Alice, the main character. We are told through narration what Alice is feeling, and what she is seeing. The story gave me 13 Going On 30 vibes but in reverse, and I was here for it. I loved that movie, loved Jennifer Garner, haha, so the story felt familiar. One thing that caught me off guard when I started reading this book was the author, Emily Straub filled the first couple of chapters with a lot and I mean A LOT of setting description and world building. Which, part of me didn't mind. The story takes place in New York city and Straub does a great job in having the reader feel like they know exactly where she's at and can feel like they are there with Alice. I've only been to New York City once and by reading the details of the places and streets and surroundings it takes me back to when I was there years ago. So, I enjoyed that.

"There was nothing else like Matryoshka- subway stations often had tiny, closet-sized bodegas with bottled water and candy bars and magazines, and some in midtown had shoe repair shops that also sold umbrellas and various other things commuting businesspeople might need, and there were a few barbershops, but nothing came close. All bars were dark - that was part of the point, of course- but Matryoshka was literally subterranean."

The only thing that I wasn't much of a fan of was that it sometimes felt like there was TOO much description and not enough story pacing. For a couple of chapters I felt like I was never going to get to the premise of the story or the next climax of the story. It didn't feel like it was moving forward. I took it as, perhaps it was something I needed to keep in the back of my head while reading because it will come up again later but it really wasn't. I am happy to say that after the story started to move along the setting descriptions decreased little by little and the character development started moving forward slowly. There were times where, yes, I was enjoying the story but I was also telling myself "okay lets get to the good parts again, what's happening here?"

As mentioned before I already knew off of reading the synopsis that I was going to enjoy the book. (Sometimes I like to cry while reading, leave me alone it's a good release. haha.) Father/daughter relationships is a sensitive topic for me, so reading a book I know I will connect with is a plus. A star goes to the fact that this story is about a father/ daughter relationship. Yes, there is a love interest involved but the story doesn't revolve around that like other stories would. Instead, it's a story filler. I liked how Straub kept it as an after thought in a way. She knew the story she wanted to tell and she told it in such a unique way. We were feeling all that Alice was going through and also in a way seeing it as it happened to her through Straub's descriptions.

"She had never told her father she loved him before he went into the hospital. Maybe once in high school, when she was miserable and they were fighting about her staying out past her curfew, but then it had been shouted back and forth, an epithet hurled through the bedroom door. But now she said it every time she visited, and looked at him when she said it."

I loved the relationship that Alice and her father, Leonard have and also the relationship that Alice and her best friend, Sam have, hell I loved the relationship that all three of them have together. It reminded me a little of my best friend growing up and her knowing my father on a level that made her comfortable and safe to be around. If I could do it all over again I would definitely strive for a relationship like Alice had with her father.

"Are you sure you need to go to the conference tonight?" Alice asked. Leonard raised an eyebrow.
"Pepperoni? Mushroom? Sausage, and peppers? Don't you already have something planned?"
Sam gasped. "Leonard! You aren't supposed to know!" "It's fine, have a little party."
He smiled. The waiter brought over a glass of red wine, and Leonard thanked him. "I trust you."

I will say that throughout the book Alice seems a little careless about her fathers health until the last half of the book. And in her own life in general, there are parts where she doesn't seem to ever be satisfied with the situations she put in. Her perspective changes so much so that it carried the story on but also left you wondering, "Hmm.. wait she didn't seem to care when this was happening or when that was happening." It's not necessarily a bad thing but I thought it was strange. Maybe deep down I was expecting that to come out more throughout the story.

Overall, I did not expect the story to take the nice little turn that it did. It did make me give the story more appreciation. The insightfulness that Leonard offered to Alice and how she took it all in on her own gave me, as the reader a better perspective on my own life and situations. This is what I feel made the water works flow.

"No. This is the deal. We all have a time, and this is mine. Whether it's today or tomorrow or next month, this is it."
"I just don't fucking like that, Dad." Alice was surprised to find herself crying.
"I don't like it much, either," Leonard said. He shut his eyes. "But there's no other way. This is how it ends, for all of us. If we're lucky."
"I'm just really going to miss you, you know?" Alice's voice caught in her throat. "I don't know how many people I really, really love, who really really love me, you know what I mean? I know that sounds pathetic, but it's true."

We all wish that we could go back in time and change things with a lover, a friend, and in my case a family member before they passed away. For those who are fortunate enough to not have lost someone close to them, reading this book will make you see the time you spend with those that you love is limited and you need to cherish every moment. For those who have lost a loved one, this story will of course, make you sad but it will also makes you think back on things and appreciate the time you had with that person and also make you cherish every moment you have with those that you still have in your life.

It's a weird thing, death, sure you go to funerals and wakes to pay your respects but you always find yourself thinking about those close to you and hoping that that day will never come for them and it puts things more into perspective. Life is so filled with the hustle and bustle of going to work or school, or the tasks that need to get done throughout the day, having kids and sacrificing so much more that we forget that the moments with the people we love are what we should be focusing on, because in the long run, whether they live to be 100 or they're gone too soon, the memories are what we thrive on for comfort, or for laughs or for moments of clarity. That's what this book did for me, it was a fictional funeral that gave me perspective and reassurance. If that makes sense.

My Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Maybe I was too eager to get to the premise of the story but the first couple chapters that flooded me with world building was a tad bit too much for me. However, the story over all was beautiful and as mentioned before the little twist that the story has gives it that much more appreciation!

I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a tear jerker, anyone who is a fan of Emma Straub's other work, or anyone who is a fan of Jill Santopolo.

To purchase this book here are some links.

I am not an affiliate nor do I gain anything from posting these links, I would just like to suggest websites to purchase the book.

Until the next book my friends!

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