“The way you spend your days is the way you spend your life.” ― Emma Straub, This Time Tomorrow
It is the eve of her 40th birthday, and Alice’s life is not terrible. She likes her job, even if it is not exactly what she expected. She is happy with her apartment, romantic status, independence, and best friend. But her father is sick, and it feels like something is missing.
When she wakes up the next morning, she finds herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday. Being back in high school shocks her, but what is even more shocking is her dad: the 40-something version of her father. Now, with a new perspective on her life and his, some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything that she would change if she could?
I love how the ‘time travel’ does not give the story science fiction vibes but it enhances the story of Alice’s emotional journey. She struggles with the impending loss of her dad as she reflects on her teenage years.
Straub urges us to realize that what we have now, we will look back on in the future as perfection. This is a story of do-overs. It is a story of loving what you have. When Alice time-travels back to when she was 16, she is blown away at how young her father looked and how healthy he was. She is also shocked that she did not see herself as she was: young, intelligent, and attractive.
It stirs questions in the reader about happiness and the satisfaction level in one’s own life. What would you change in your life if you could? I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it!
How To Stop Time by Matt Haig
I often think of what Hendrich said to me, over a century ago, in his New York apartment.
Summary: Tom Hazard may look like an ordinary man but he is anything but. He is several hundred years old. He has seen the world change from Elizabethan England to the modern era. Sounds like a dream right? Maybe so but it can be lonely. When a group called the Albatross Society discovers him, he learns that there are many more people like him. Their main rule is to never fall in love. It complicates things. Tom has led many different lives but now he takes on a role that could jeopardize his existence, a history teacher. When he intrigues a fellow teacher, he has to decide if it is worth it to break from the rules of society or start over again.
“I sometimes want to stop time. I sometimes want, in a happy moment, for a church bell never to ring again. I want not to ever have to go to the market again. I want for the starlings to stop flying in the sky…But we are all at the mercy of time.”
Such a great story! I love the thought that someone can live forever and see so many things. I would love to be able to see the world of Shakespeare and the Roaring Twenties. These are iconic times in history. Being a history major, this book was right up my alley.
“It’s not that long ago, not really. History is right here, Anton. It’s breathing down our necks.”
I like that Tom does age. He is not immortal. He just ages slower than the average person does. He has demons. He wants to know what and who he is. He feels guilt. He knows love. He is a flawed character instead of the perfect ones in many stories of immortals. He has made mistakes and learned from them. He has not collected tons of wealth and profited off his condition. He has lived. He has searched for years for someone and never given up.
Lowlights: I listened to part of this on audiobook. The reader was good but when there are many changes from time and location it makes that story harder to follow. Tom often looks back at his past in order to help explain his present. However, while reading it flowed much easier.
FYI: It is already optioned to be a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch!