Sam Mazur and Sadie Green meet and bond over a Super Mario Brothers on the Super NES at the local children’s hospital – Sam is there recovering from a devastating car accident and Sadie is there with her sister, Alice. The two quickly become best friends, until Sam catches wind of the fact that Sadie was receiving community services hours for her bat mitzvah for spending time with Sam and he severs the friendship.
Until a chance encounter years later brings the two gamer lovers back together. Their friendship rekindled, Sam and Sadie become forever linked when they spend a summer creating an iconic video game and then the next twenty or so years trying to follow up on that initial success. Sadie wants games to be an art form, Sam wants to make money. In the middle is Sam’s roommate Marx, who becomes a business manager for their company and the third side of an intricate love triangle.
Borrowing a title from the Bard himself, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is an immersive love story of flawed, intriguing people and their impact on each other’s lives. It’s the story of rifts that develop and how they crumble and fragment the friends sometimes, bringing them together at others. The initial estrangement over Sam’s perception that Sadie was in their friendship for something more than just a shared love of video games is nothing compared to the fissure that develops early in their professional relationship when Sam insists on changing the identity of their main character from gender neutral to male and that the team take a deal to distribute the game that will give them a quicker payday up front, but limit their options down the road.
The slow burn that Sadie goes through for the next decade and the impact is has on the trio drives a good portion of the book – though it took a few pages and chapters to realize just what was happening and why it was happening.
Zevin clearly has a love of gaming – something that comes across on every page. The details of certain games will leave you yearning to revisit a couple of the games and even wishing that somehow the games we read about Sadie, Sam, and Marx developing and marketing could somehow become real and we could at least try them out. (I especially want to try Sadies’ game that involves blasting fragments from Emily Dickison poems)
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is an immersive story, at times, washed over me. The celebrations and the tragedies (both large and small) are profoundly felt. Each of these characters is fascinating, flawed, and unforgettable.
This is the type of story that comes to a natural conclusion, and yet you won’t want it to end. Simply put, this novel was the perfect read at the perfect time for me, connecting with me in all the right ways.
Easily one of the books I’ve read this year. Highly recommended.