Monday, January 23, 2017

Maybe in Another Life - Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe in Another Life
Title: Maybe in Another Life
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date: 7/7/2015
Pages: 342
Genre: Chick Lit / Romance / Fiction
How I Found It: I can't remember
Date Completed: 12/31/16

Summary: When Hannah returns home to Los Angeles after years of hopping around the country, she is faced with a seemingly mundane decision. That decision drastically alters the course of her life and we see how each choice plays out simultaneously as the story splits into two parallel branches. 

What I Thought: This book was really fun. It was a light-hearted note on which to end a hard year. If you have ever seen Sliding Doors, then you know this premise well. The Gwenyth Paltrow movie is certainly not the only story to use this premise, but it is one of the more well-known. 

Sometimes, divergent story lines such as these can be distracting or too contrived. Overall, I felt Reid avoided those common traps. Both stories were enjoyable and I liked the ways - both subtle and not - that Reid tied them together. Though predictable, it was nice that Hannah ended up happy in both narratives.

For me, what gave the story its bit of depth was Hannah's search for home. At the start of the book, she is moving back to L.A. after bouncing all around the country, never really feeling that any place is right. Throughout the book, in both plots, she works through her issues about commitment and gets to the bottom of what home means to her. I think this aspect of the book is very appealing to twenty-somethings like myself. While I don't personally feel on a search for "home," I can certainly relate to some of the ambiguity and questioning that takes place in these early adult years. Hannah's search for answers feels very real and honest. It added a layer of gravity to a book that could have fully succumbed to the saccharinity of the chick lit/romance genres.

Though we're currently slogging through the depths of winter, I think this book would be a marvelous beach read. So, if you're buried in work right now but already dreaming of that summer vacation, keep this one in mind for your poolside days. Of course, if could also serve as a delightful distraction of bleary winter days and depressing political tides, as it did for me. Either way, it's a fun diversion and made me want to read more of Reid's work in the future.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Unlikely
If You Liked This, Try: Austenland / The Engagements / The Time Travelers' Wife

A Reduced Review: Hannah's two similar, but divergent worlds both require her to face the realities of adulthood and the task of defining home. It's a fun story that twenty-somethings will likely identify with on one level or another. 

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