By Emma Straub
Published May 2022
This is another book that I kept seeing everywhere and felt pulled to read, even though I wasn’t familiar with the author’s previous works. So, like many other times, I waited patiently for my local library (shout out to CCPL) to loan me a copy. Happily, it arrived not long after the publication date and I dove right in.
Here’s the blurb: Alice’s life is meh – neither great nor bad. She’s about to turn 40, enjoys her career even though she’s aware it’s not a job most people make a career out of. She’s single and childless, which isn’t an issue for her but she’d love to see more of her best friend, who juggles both a family and a career. Even though she always thought she’d accomplish more in life, the only thing she’d truly love to change is the fact that her father is dying. She needs more time with him. After a drunken solo 40th birthday celebration, Alice wakes up on the day of her 16th birthday, with a healthy father and her entire life ahead of her. She now has the opportunity to change her life. The only question is, should she?
Time travel must be in the air this season since this is the second book I’ve read recently on the topic. It’s a subject I’m always happy to get an author’s take on. However, I was a little disappointed by the first half of this book. In addition to taking a while for the story to gain momentum, I felt like what was written didn’t add anything very new to the theme. In fact, the author points out all of the time travel movies and books from the 1980s and 1990s and that only served to underscore my feeling. I got interested once Alice changes the trajectory of her life and it is totally different but in mostly good ways, **spoiler alert** yet she rejects her new life, opting instead to go back and try things again.
After Alice decides to hop back in time again, my interest was piqued because for me, this was a road less traveled (even though I’ve seen it done before, I finally felt like the author was giving it a unique twist) and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book.
Even though I had a few issues with the pacing, what I really like about this novel was the characterization. Despite having several characters who appeared and reappeared several times in the novel, I felt like I had enough time and grounding to know them and to care about them. Which actually made me a little upset when Alice rejected her first transformed life. I had to wonder what happened to the other people in that timeline? But then my head started going into alternate realities, which was too much to handle without brain-melt so I set that question aside and dove back into the book.
Despite my griping, this was a good read – and a quick one. I’m planning on looking for more by the author.
I rated this novel 3.5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐+
Until next time, thank you for visiting.
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