Thursday 23 March 2023


Book review: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin [blog tour]

Today, I'm thrilled to take part in a blog tour that's a bit different. Rather than celebrating the launch of one book, this tour is for the The Wingate Literary Prize and its shortlist of nominees. Now in its 46th year, this annual prize is awarded to the best fiction or non-fiction book that translates Jewishness to the general reader. One of the titles on this year's shortlist is Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I've heard nothing but raving reviews about this book in recent months, so I was eager to find out if they were justified! 

It's 1987 and two kids meet in the hospital. Sam is in recovery from a car crash and Sadie is a regular visitor. On the surface they have little in common. But they're similar in age and both love video games, which is enough for children to bond and become instant friends. 

Yet, despite spending a lot of time together in the confines of the hospital, they lose touch and don't see each other again until they're both in university. This time, rather than playing video games, they work together on creating them. They're both incredibly talented in their respective fields: Sam in conceptualising imaginative worlds and Sadie in coding them to bring them to life. And it doesn't take long for their new-found video games company, which they set up with their friend Marx, to take off. 

But their friendship is struggling under the weight of their success. While they're two sides of the same coin, Sam and Sadie keep clashing and growing apart even as their work gets more and more intertwined. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is the story of these two fascinating and complex protagonists throughout the decades. Both together and apart, as they're trying to navigate life, friendship, work, love, and fame. 

This book, you guys. It's a rollercoaster of emotions for so many reasons. There are some absolutely harrowing and shocking moments that are formative in Sam and Sadie's friendship. It's a very intimate read about them as people and as friends and a rough ride at times, but that's what makes it feel incredibly genuine. It's as if we, as readers, are getting two know two real people from childhood onwards as they come of age and discover themselves – and all the messy bits they have to overcome along the way. 

I was willing them to see sense when they argued and drifted further apart, but of course they had to be stupid and selfish at times, as that's real life. People and relationships are difficult and complex. If it was all smooth sailing the book would be only a few chapters long. That said, I did feel that it was too long at times and some of the developments dragged on or were repetitive. 

But then the character's real-life complications were interspersed with bouts of brilliance as they worked on the one thing that bonded them together both as kids and adults: videogames. And that's where the magic happened. You don't have to be a gamer to appreciate the incredible detail author Gabrielle Zevin has put in her book about the various games the characters create and play. 

They sound so incredibly realistic, especially for their respective times, that I have no doubt that she has either played a lot of games herself growing up or has done a ton of research on the kind of games that were created during each time period the book takes place in. Or both. I cannot imagine anyone reading this book and not wanting to dive into the world of their first major success: Ichigo. I even ended up trying my hand at Emily Blaster, which is a real-life version of a game Sadie creates in university. 

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is an ode to the imaginative worlds of videogames and their seemingly endless possibilities. It shows that while games are written to elicit certain actions and reactions from players, real life isn't as carefully laid out and it's much harder to carve out the right path. Sam and Sadie's story is a prime example of that as they come of age and try to figure out who they are and what defines them – together and as individuals. It's beautiful, and messy, and genuine. 

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is published by Chatto and Windus (part of Vintage) and you can now buy a copy from your favourite local book shop!

Blog tour stops for The Wingate Literary Prize

This review for Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a part of the official blog tour for The Wingate Prize. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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