This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
5/17/22; 320 pages
Penguin Random House
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub is a very highly recommended time traveling tale.
Alice Stern is visiting her seriously ill father, Leonard, in the hospital. Leonard, the famous author of a best selling and cult classic time travel novel, is no longer responsive and Alice knows the end is near. He has been the constant in her life as the parent who raised her since age six. Since she is about to turn 40, Alice is taking stock of her life. She is still very close to her life-long best friend, Sam, satisfied with her job, her independence, and her apartment. She does wish she had asked Leonard more questions when she was younger. Then after a night of drinking on her 40th birthday, she wakes up back in 1996 on her 16th birthday and this changes everything.
Admittedly I wasn't smitten with This Time Tomorrow at the beginning until Alice found the key to her ability to time travel. It begins as what feels like a stereotypical novel about single woman in NYC, the only place to live, and it felt like something written a thousand time, with the exception of her ill father. Once she went back to age 16, my interest in the novel spiked because what adult would want to go back to 16? The chance to really talk to her father is a crucial factor to the charm of going back in time and then her attempts to change the future are intriguing. This is a story of love and loss.
In this novel of self discovery, Straub perfectly captures the setting, time, and place of NYC in both time periods. There are also plenty of references to other time traveling novels and movies. The quality of the writing in This Time Tomorrow is exceptional and makes reading a pleasure as you explore how the choices you make influence your whole life. There are also a few surprises along the way.
Character development is well done and we see Alice experience growth in both time periods as she examines her current life and takes on the quest to change the future. Giving her the opportunity to really talk to her father back when he was younger and healthy would be an extraordinary gift for most people. Alice and Leonard's relationship and love for each other (and her relationship with her best friend, Sam) is really the foundation of this story with love being the one enduring quality in both time periods. 4.5 rounded upDisclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.