I said I’d be back and here I am! Welcome to the third blog post of this weekend!
In today’s post, I’ll be reviewing the book I finished reading this week, my chick lit respite from Victorian literature, Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
In terms of general impressions, I have to say that I didn’t love this novel. It was cute and funny in places, but it wasn’t groundbreaking and it didn’t leave much of an impact on me. Although I enjoyed reading it and got through it relatively quickly, I didn’t ever feel desperately connected to any of the characters and I was pretty nonchalant about what happened to them. I’ll definitely be passing the novel along to my mom because I know she’ll enjoy how romantic and fun it is, but I don’t think I’ll be ranting and raving about it any time soon.
Having said that, some of the lines in the novel really did stick with me. I felt, most of the time, like the book just spewed platitudes and clichés, but every now and then, there was a gem of a line that was different from anything I’d read before. I’ve quoted some of these lines below so that you can get of a sense of how unique the narrative voice was at times – this was the one aspect of the writing style that made it stand out a little bit, to me.
“Life is unpredictable beyond measure.”
“‘Divide the pain in two…and give half of it to me.’”
“Life is just a series of breaths in and out.”
“‘And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up with you.’”
– Maybe In Another Life, Taylor Jenkins Reid
Other than these interesting and quite uniquely written lines, the subject matter and overall structure of the novel was also appealing to me, and this leads me to how this post connects to my other weekend post here on the blog. As I mentioned in my first review of the novel, the plot follows Hannah Martin as she lives out two different storylines: one split second decision causes her life to move in two very different directions, and the novel lets the reader play out both alternatives and view the consequences of both decisions Hannah could’ve made in that moment. This was a really fascinating concept to me, and I enjoyed following the threads between Hannah’s decision(s) and the conclusion of the novel.
And, more than just finding reading about these two storylines engaging, the subject got me thinking about life in general, about Fate and the idea of “meant to be”. I’m a huge believer in Fate – it’s basically my religion – and I do genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason and that we are led to particular places and situations and circumstances because we are meant to be there and become a certain kind of person as a result of these experiences. But, what’s so interesting about Hannah’s story, is that it implies that there are multiple universes out there, that any one person is living multiple lives at once. And I found this notion both cool and terrifying.
I don’t know if I want to be living multiple lives right now, even if I’m not conscious of it. I’m really very happy with my life as it is now, and more than anything, I’m so happy with the people I have in my life. In Hannah’s story, she becomes involved with two very different men and it seems like she has two soul mates. She’s compatible and happy with both of them, and it’s all down to the choices she makes and the position she’s in that she’s with either one of them. But, what does this mean? Does this mean that every one person has multiple soul mates? If that’s the case, is any one soul mate better for the person than the other? And what if, like me, you’re so attached to this life’s soul mate that it makes you impossibly sad to think of being with a different one in another life? It’s all very confusing and if you think about it long enough, it’ll just make you crazy…trust me, I know!
I guess it really doesn’t matter in the end, and I think that’s the main message behind Reid’s novel. Sure, there are probably other universes out there, but what of it? We only get to be aware in this one, and we only have this one to enjoy, so it doesn’t matter what is happening in any other time or space. I’m so positively smitten with my life here and now, and I’m truly glad I ended up in this one. And, if there is another version of JNG out there, I hope she’s just as joyful and content as I am…after all, she’s one of my dearest friends in a way, and so I wish her infinite success, love and happiness!
I wish the same for all of you, dear Readers,
Girl with a Green Heart