I have a new book for us to talk about. I put it on my Christmas list and knew nothing about it. That’s not totally true–I knew it was about video games and friends. But then I read it..and while yes, it is about those things, but it is so much deeper and more beautiful than that. It’s a love story between two friends that spans 30 years. I highly recommend reading (and then talking about) this book.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. This is her 10th book
From the cover description:
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom.
These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.
I loved this book. I loved the exploration of a deep male-female friendship that wasn’t romantic. It’s hard to talk about friendship love, everything gets so contorted. Ms. Zevin did an excellent job writing a deep, abiding, sometimes painful, friendship.
The back of the book has some discussion questions that are great. A good book club conversation can use questions from many sources. Feel free to use any of those questions with or without the ones provided below to have an excellent conversation about Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.
(Caution: There are spoilers in the questions–proceed with caution if you haven’t read the whole book.)
- This story of these friends is centered around video games. Oregon Trail is referred to often. Did you play video games as a kid? (Or did your kids or family members play video games?) Which of the games described in this book were most appealing to you?
- The core exploration of this story is the nature of love that exists in friendships. Did you/do you have a friend that you loved deeply? What was that like for you? How did it compare to Sam and Sadie? Was there a third wheel like Marx?
- Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a pretty lengthy book, uses quite a few different story telling techniques, and covers a lot of detail of the three main characters lives. Was it easy for you to read? Why or why not?
- Sadie befriends Sam at the request of one of the nurses from the hospital. Her attempt to gain volunteer hours eventually backfires, breaking their young friendship. Who did you sympathize with more in this situation: Sam or Sadie?
- A pretty noticeable aspect of the book is the development of technology throughout its 30 year timeline, but also the development of the video game. It’s interesting that their first game is inspired by art. How did you feel to watch the development of technology happen in front of your eyes?
- Both Sam and Sadie use games to explicitly memorialize their loved ones and process their losses. If you could design a game to preserve or change some part of your reality, what would it be?
- The experiences of a lifetime together include tragedy for each character (Sam, Sadie, and Marx). Which tragedy impacted you the most?
- For Sadie, as a woman, her experience and “validity” in technology is different than Sam or Marx’s, yet she a driving force behind many of the games they publish. How does she handle this? How would have handled this?
- Sam, at times, seems pretty clueless about social cues and the emotional states of people around him. Is it just his devotion to his work, or is it something else? Would you have been able to be friends with him?
One More thing:
In the back of the book, Ms. Zevin does a flash 90’s nostalgia round and I thought it would be fun to parrot that here:
From the book would you choose:
- Fruit by the Foot or Gushers?
- Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune?
- Oregon Trail or Mario Brothers?
- Beanie Babies or Tamagotchi?
- 90210 or My So-Called Life?
Here are some fun ones I thought of:
- Seinfeld or Friends?
- Titanic or Forest Gump?
- Mario or Sonic?
- Beauty & the Beast or Aladdin?
- Twinkies or Ding-dongs?