Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (2022) by Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, one of my favorites of 2018) has been on my TBR list since it came out. It won the 2022 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fiction, and I would have voted for it as well had I read it in time! I first listened to the audiobook, then had to buy the hardcover so that I could savor it.

We meet Sam Masur and Sadie Green in Harvard Square in the very early 1990s. Sam is a student at Harvard and has had the good luck to become the roommate of Marx Watanabe, a generous son of a wealthy investment banker, and Sadie is studying computer science at M.I.T.

Sam and Sadie had met when they were 10 and 11 in Los Angeles, in the hospital where Sadie was with her sister, who was getting treatment for childhood cancer, and Sam was recovering from a terrible car accident in which he had lost his mother and he was badly injured. Until he met Sadie in the common room where he was playing video games, Sam hadn’t spoken for many weeks. Over the next months, they become each others’ best friends, although the circumstances lead to a falling-out that lasts years.

When they meet again in Massachusetts, their friendship continues where they left off, but this time, Sam decides that he wants to make a game with Sadie. This begins a decades-long partnership, where they create a beloved video game–Ichigo, with Marx as the producer. Together, the three create the company Unfair Games, and become family. Sam and Sadie are never lovers, but they are soulmates, and they are both lovable and frustrating. Marx is the glue that keeps the company together and makes their lives easier.

Ultimately, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is about grief–both Sam and Sadie grieve, in different ways and for both different things and the same thing. Sadie struggles with depression, and Sam never fully physically recovers from the car accident that crushed his foot.

Although it is a long book, I didn’t want it to end. She uses some unusual techniques–there is a chapter written in 2nd person, and an entire section told from the perspective of characters in a game called Pioneers. As we read, Zevin goes back and forth through the characters’ childhoods and young adulthood, into the cusp of their middle age, but I wanted more. I wanted to read about a life where they grew old.

I cried at Sam’s and Sadie’s stubbornness and how that led to their misunderstandings, and with their grief. Zevin doesn’t shy away from anything and is honest about how we can each get in our own way, and how misunderstandings can spiral out of control and nearly ruin friendships. She addresses homophobia, gun violence, sexual harassment and the imbalance of power, disability, depression, grief, and racism. And how to keep going on making art through all of these things.

I’m not a video gamer, but I have had many loved ones who are, and Sam is just a few years younger than me–Gen X readers will likely find a lot to love in Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.

I recall only one instance of anti-fatness: one of the story’s villians uses an anti-fat remark during a particularly intense scene, but otherwise it’s weight-neutral.

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