Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Washington Square Press on July 7th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
“Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions. I have to think that the small ones don’t matter, that I’ll end up where I need to end up no matter what I do.”
I’ve finally read all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books! After having such a fun time reading Forever, Interrupted, I figured I should just jump straight into Maybe in Another Life.
At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She’s lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of LA and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.
Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What if she leaves with Ethan?
In concurrent timelines, Hannah lives out the outcomes of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with consequences for Hannah and the people around her.
I knew I’d like this more than Forever, Interrupted based on the concept alone.
I remember watching Sliding Doors when I was young and I fell in love with the idea of the multiverse. Also who didn’t love reading the Choose Your Own Adventure series?!
I thought it’d be jarring to have each chapter alternate between the two realities, but I thought that it ended up helping with pacing.
I often find that the problem with these kinds of stories is that the same scenes can be written with slightly different variations. That was my biggest issue when I read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson last year. But thankfully that didn’t happen in this book. It only happens at the very end of both realities. That helped keep the story from dragging and getting boring for the reader.
I think I liked this book more than Forever, Interrupted is because I genuinely felt for these characters. Jenkins Reid did such a fantastic job making sure the reader understands why each character makes the choices they do. It makes sense given their background, their past, their upbringing, or past trauma. Nothing ever felt out of character.
I couldn’t help but fall in love with these charming characters.
Hannah struggles with some heavy stuff, but she manages to keep a positive attitude and chug along anyway.
Gabby is a fierce and loyal friend who never wants to hurt anyone.
Henry is deeply committed and passionate about his work and wants to help everyone.
With both endings, I like that Hannah and Gabby’s friendship remained stronger than ever. These women found strength in leaning on each other while they got through some of the hardest moments in their lives. Because who needs men, am I right?!
I’m always up for discussion about soulmates and I appreciated Jenkins Reid’s commentary on fate and true love. Hannah believes there are soulmates, and she even believes that she’s found “the one” in both worlds. Someone who is perfect for her in each circumstance and at each point in her life.
I’ve been extra emotional all weekend, but the one thing will stick with me is this line that was my favourite:
I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me somewhere else, led me to someone else. And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up with you.
This is an incredibly sweet story that filled me with such happiness and contentment. And it might seem like it’s a simple and feel-good tale, but there’s lots of heartache contained within these pages. But Maybe in Another Life is a mature coming-of-age story that many will enjoy.
But is this my favourite from Jenkins Reid? Seven Husbands and Daisy Jones will forever be at the top of my list for her work. But who knows what Jenkins Reid will come out with next!