Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit
Maturity Level: 4
Content Warning: Miscarriage
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At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.
Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?
In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?
Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.
Maybe in Another Life is entertaining enough, but compared to some of Reid’s more recent books was just kind of lackluster.
I was initially very excited about the concurrent storylines, partly because I really love the movie Sliding Doors. But I ended up not enjoying the direction Reid went with it as much as I thought I would. She seems to be writing about how you can be happy in any life, and a single decision or “fate” doesn’t decide your happiness. Which is kind of oddly juxtaposed with the main character, Hannah, deciding the exact opposite.
I didn’t care about Hannah at all, unfortunately. She seemed like the kind of person I might be friends with in real life, but she wasn’t particularly interesting to read about. She’s just kind of a regular person, but she doesn’t have any particular depth or growth throughout the novel. I think maybe she is kind of vanilla so that the reader can put themselves into the narrative. But compared to heroines like Evelyn Hugo or Daisy Jones she just fell flat.
I did love the emphasis placed on friendship and making family for yourself. Hannah’s friendship with Gabby is something really special. They care fiercely about each other, more even than Hannah cares about the men she falls in love with. And through Gabby Hannah discovers that even though she isn’t close to her family, she can still MAKE a family that works for her. I loved that.
The romances were fine. Very little kissing, no on the page sex, but romantic enough to make me smile. No swooning or fiery chemistry, just happy feelings.
I would probably recommend this book to people who enjoy Chick-Lit and never get tired of it, but if you are a once-in-a-blue-moon Chick Lit reader like me you can probably pass on this one. Definitely don’t expect the wow factor that some of Reid’s more recent work.