Book Review: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Quick Summary:

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is the story of two childhood friends, Sam Masur and Sadie Green, who after years of not talking to each other, rekindle their friendship and embark on a partnership that changes the course of their lives. This book is not a romance but it is somewhat about love – love between friends, family, art, and self – as the story spans 30 years in Sam and Sadie’s lifetime and there are glimpses into all of these things and how they interconnect with one another.

Plot Overview:

When Sam spots Sadie on a subway platform in Boston, he almost doesn’t call out to her. Remembering the early days of their friendship brought Sam some nostalgia, and after Sadie initially pretended like she didn’t hear him, they spoke briefly. Sam, a Harvard student, and Sadie, a student at MIT, stare at a magic eye poster for a few minutes before they part ways. As Sadie is about to miss her train, she asks Sam if he still plays video games, and hands her a disk with a game she created herself. Video games is the tissue that connects Sam and Sadie, as they met in the hospital where Sam was getting his foot treated after a nasty accident, and Sadie was with her mom as her sister got treatment for cancer. Sadie wandered into the children’s play area where she found Sam playing video games, and thus begun their friendship.
After playing Sadie’s game, Sam and Sadie embark on a journey to create their first video game together, which evolves into a blockbuster of a game and later a gaming company. During this time, Sam and Sadie both evolve into young adults where they struggle with issues of mental health, disability, failure, love and loss. There are glimpses into Sam and Sadie’s pasts that offer insight into those difficult moments for them, and shape where they end up in the future.

Common Themes + Opinions:

It’s tough to pin one central theme to Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow as this story is complex and multifaceted – but I’m gonna try anyway. Once again, this story isn’t a romance but love does play a connecting factor throughout the entire story. Sam struggles with saying “i love you” to anyone, perhaps because he sees himself as unworthy; potentially because of his disability, but also because he’s closed himself off from love out of fear of rejection and getting hurt. It’s obvious that he loves Sadie, and is perhaps in love with her, but he cannot will himself to admit it or even repeat it back to her in a platonic way. Sam struggles with his mental health as he’s navigated physical pain basically his entire life. He doesn’t really know any other feeling outside of pain, where this contributes to his struggle to connect with positive emotions. As a result, Sam comes off as a closed off person and can be deemed unlikable. However, this doesn’t stop the people closest to him from expressing their love for him in small ways – like Marx, his roommate, always finding ways to take care of Sam without being painfully obvious. 
Connecting to Sadie, her lifestyle was a lot different than Sam’s. While she didn’t exactly live through tragedy and physical pain, she struggled with figuring out who she was as an individual, and with determining what she wanted out of life. Getting stuck with a shitty ex-boyfriend, plus always being on ends with Sam about their business, really confused Sadie on who she really was. On top of this, Sadie struggled with bouts of depression, where she’d completely shut down and shut out the world during her lows. While she didn’t exactly manage to find healthy coping mechanisms until later in life, she managed to pull herself out of these lows with her love of video games. As Sadie figures her life out, she gets to experience success, failure, real love, and loss which takes her on an emotional roller coaster.

Final Thoughts + Ratings:

I’ll admit, I found Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow to be a bit boring at the beginning. Also, I didn’t find Sam or Sadie all that likable. First off, they both come off as a bit pretentious; more Sadie than Sam, given their ivy league statuses. Sadie is privileged and I’m not all that sure that she knew that. While failure can affect people in different ways, I found it telling that one failure for Sadie meant almost quitting her job and losing her career. At first, she refused to reflect and learn from it, and instead opted to wallow in self pity and wonder whether she should just straight up give up on her career. Given the context of this part of the story, I understand why she was upset but I can’t necessarily relate to her wanting to throw away her whole career because of that. Regardless, Sam and Sadie’s story was interesting, especially since a lot of their story happened in the 90’s and early aughts. I liked that despite the trials and tribulations Sam and Sadie experienced, they were always able to find their way back to each other and their friendship.
All in all, I give Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow three stars. Have you read Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow? Let me know in the comments!
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