Gabriel Zevin’s TOMORROW AND TOMORROW AND TOMORROW follows three friends – Sadie, Sam, and Marx – the creation of their critically acclaimed game, Ichigo, their video game company, Unfair Games, along with the tumultuous ups and downs that go hand-in-hand with coming of age together under a public spotlight.
Apparently this book was all over TikTok in 2022 and given that I only came to that platform somewhat later in the year, I missed out on the majority of the hype. Despite being a big reader who consumes close to one hundred books a year, most trends seem to escape me for whatever reason. Maybe I should pay more attention as this one absolutely lived up to its praise.
That said, I was a little leery before picking this one up. When a corner of nerd culture like gaming receives a spotlight in popular culture, I tend to lean on the side of skepticism. Is the book really that good? Or are people just excited that something they’re interested in is getting some attention? I’m not familiar with Zevin’s work prior to this book, but it’s clear that she had an enthralling story swirling around in her mind about the messiness of humans and successfully grafted it to a unique and underserved corner of storytelling in fiction.
I had read a few other reviews before collecting my thoughts on this story and while I can certainly understand the criticisms directed at Sadie and Sam’s actions throughout the bulk of the novel, I felt deep connections with them as they maneuvered through their challenging lives. Sadie and Sam, while confident in their work, are both dealing with different variations of low self-confidence. For the majority of his life, Sam had to deal with a crippling disability resulting from a car accident in his youth and the challenges that would go on to present him and Sadie, whose relationship with Sam got off on the wrong foot (no-pun intended) seemed to struggle with being misunderstood and cast aside either due to her gender or a lack of a belief in her work. These aspects of their lives would often cause a festering self-resentment and a loathing of others that, while it would subside at times, would come bubbling to the surface in some inopportune moments.
While the story is heavy on the culture of gaming, I do not think you need to be well-versed in the ins-and-outs of either the retro or modern gaming community to foster a connection with this story or these characters. As with all good coming-of-age stories, the author finds a way to put readers back into their younger selves when events that occurred in their formative years were bigger and more life-changing than what may come later. Like all memorable stories, there is a great deal of hope here, as well as a good amount of despair. Zevin finds a way to reconcile the two to create that delicate balance needed in our relationships that allows for life to move forward against the endless waves of time.