Book Review – Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

by Maryse on May 25, 2015 · 10 comments

in My Book Reviews

Maybe in Another Life: A Novel
Another home-run hit with this unique and emotionally eye-opening, heartfelt story. I absolutely had to read it now… I just couldn’t wait any longer. Longer you ask? Yes, because I’m SO sorry that this one is only on pre-order right now and can’t be devoured just yet. BUT OMG is it worth it! What a unique exploration of love and life. A unique perspective on fate. On destiny.

Gahhhh!!! I love this author. I’ve read three books and have loved each and every one of them. Why? She’s a phenomenal writer, of course, but what I love so much about her stories is that she explores real life drama and tragedy (or even “the lighter side” of personal trouble) with an undeniable, yet totally relatable honesty. One that makes me think. Makes me feel… but not necessarily the things I always want to feel, you know? She often has me facing my own thoughts, my own doubts, my own shame… my own needs. I’ve felt embarrassed (for the heroine, and even for myself for agreeing at times). I’ve felt indignant. I’ve felt ashamed. I’ve felt hurt, devastated, hopeless… and so hopeful.

I don’t think we are to consider these “contemporary romance” novels. Perhaps more along the lines of “women’s fiction” (due to the personal struggles and all around growth in all avenues of the heroines lives) however!!! They are always highly focused (even mostly focused) on a love story. Or the potential end of one.

And boy can she can write true-to-life love stories (in any form). Tragic loss, marital issues and realizations, and in this one… choices, and not necessarily by her own design. Unputdownable!

So what’s it about?

Wow, I don’t even know how to do this one justice in regards to the dual, yet simultaneously occurring love stories that had me fighting with myself! A love triangle for sure, and I couldn’t figure out who’s “team” I was on. Well.. yes I did. I knew who I wanted. Tee hee!!! I think you can guess, once you get into it. ;) Did I win? I’ll let you find out for yourself.

In fact, I just giggled looking back at my notes for this one, and right at about 23% I wrote:

“This is the weirdest, most unique love triangle ever. What if her life went one way… or the other?”

Yep. This one is SO different. The same heroine in each… almost a love triangle of sorts, but not at all like we’ve ever experienced one before. Because while the reader may be struggling to decide what we want for her most (who we love most, what life we hope for her to have) what story we connect to the most… the heroine has NO clue about the “other life” that she is living.

Wait waiiiiiit waiiiiiiiiit. I know what you’re thinking. This isn’t one of those multiple personality books that I love so much. LOL!! And not paranormal, either. Although definitely a personal journey in circumstance. Chance. The future… in a few potential versions of it.

What would have happened if… “this” instead of “that”? AND OMG will you be warring with yourself on what you want for her. How you want this book to end. And true to this author’s amazing style… she will keep you guessing the whole way through. And then she’ll leave you in delight. And likely, serious contemplation.

But…

“The point of the story is that you should always have faith in Hannah. Because even when it looks like she’s made a terrible mistake, she’s actually one step ahead of you. That’s the moral. Things will always work out for Hannah. You know? She was born under a lucky star or something.”

Hrmmm… yes. I love that!

Okay okay!!! Back to what THIS is about.

So… Hannah has been living (or flitting through) life with no real goal or focus. Nearing her 30′s, she’s getting over her heartbreak from a breakup with a married man,

“You know, Gabby, even if he is married, that doesn’t mean I’m not better for him than this other person. All’s fair in love and war.”

Two weeks later, his wife found out about me and called me screaming.

He’d done this before.

She’d found two others.

…lives far from her parents, and is working a job she hates with no real future in sight. At least not the one she wants for herself. She’s all alone, with no real attachment to… anything.

I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of person I am a see-where-life-takes-you sort of person. But that sort of approach to life isn’t yielding results for me. It gets me paying the bills waiting tables and sleeping with married men. I don’t want that anymore. I want to try order instead of chaos.

She’s got to get away, she’s got to find her center. She’s got to find herself. So she decides to return to L.A. Her old “home” where her best friend, Gabby, still lives. Return to her old life. And the old boyfriend that she’s never forgotten. The love of her life… the one that broke her heart slowly, due to distance and college, over time.

When she gets there, it doesn’t take long before she sees him again, at a party. Sparks fly. But that’s where this book splits. Because in one instance… she leaves with him. They can’t get enough of each other. It seems to be what it was always meant to be. Days of passion, holed up in his apartment, loving every moment together. Of each other.

Yet in another instance of “her new life” she leaves without him. Or he leaves with someone else. And in her distress, she’s hit by a car, and wakes up in a hospital. Bad news all around… (you’ll find out what) but there’s a handsome nurse that takes care of her.

“From experience, I can tell you that if you go around trying to figure out what’s fair in life or whether you deserve something or not, that’s a rabbit hole that is hard to climb out of.”

And then we live BOTH versions of her life with her. And they are magically wound together… perfectly. Seamlessly. It ALL makes sense, no matter what version of “her life” we’re in. What perspective we are “living her” from.

“I believe I am destined for something. We are all destined for something. And I believe that the universe, or God, or whatever you want to call it, I believe it keeps us on the right path.”

I knew what I wanted… (yet I struggled because both versions of her life are gripping). And let’s not even talk about that of her best friend.

She looks desperate and sick. I’ve never seen her like this. She’s seen me like this. But I’ve never seen her like this.

My only complaint? Every once in awhile (not often) I forgot what “version” of her I was, depending on the chapter. But it never took long for me to figure it out. Not enough for me to truly complain, but i had to put something, right? LOL!!!

It’s just categorically fantastic. I would definitely say a MUST READ and one that will make you think about it for hours, days… maybe even months after you’ve finished. You’ll never forget it. Like I haven’t forgotten ANY of her books. That’s just how good she is.

But my friends… just… what if?

Did I love the ending? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY!!!

5 stars of absolute fabulousness!!!!!

If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is.

So I have to think that while I may exist in other universes, none is as sweet as this.

P.S. Thank you to the publisher for sending me this review copy. I know it’s early BUT OMG I couldn’t help but read this one, I just couldn’t wait anymore and let me say, I loved it SO much I couldn’t just sit on this review. So here it is! LOL!!

P.P.S. Here are my book review of her other books. Yes. I LOVE her.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne May 25, 2015 at 10:16 PM

This book sounds so unique! I need to read it once it comes out in July :) Thanks for the great review Maryse!

Maryse May 25, 2015 at 10:42 PM

My pleasure Anne. This one is a reading treasure for sure!! :D

Lisa S. May 26, 2015 at 5:42 AM

From the retro cover, I probably wouldn’t give this a Mad Men second look. But from your review, I am intrigued. I am not familiar with this author. I may need to make her ‘acquaintance’.

Maryse May 26, 2015 at 6:06 AM

Lisa!! She’s a must read. Ha… it’s true… the cover does have a retro feel, but this one is all “today”.

Amy May 26, 2015 at 8:28 AM

I’m so glad you DID review it early! I’ve been excited about it since I first heard about it, and now after reading your review that excitement is multiplied by about 100. Okay, by 1000. ;) I absolutely loved After I Do and Forever, Interrupted (didn’t think I would fall for and become so attached to him *after* he was gone in FI…that was a first for me!) and I can’t wait for this one! Just a little over a month to go. :D

Amy May 26, 2015 at 8:31 AM

Lisa, Maryse is right…she is a must read! Don’t let the price of her books dissuade you because they are worth it. SO worth it.

Jean May 26, 2015 at 10:28 AM

I will be buying this book immediately!! Love her! Thanks Maryse!!

Maryse May 26, 2015 at 6:27 PM

My pleasure my friends!! :D !!!

I usually prefer reading my books with you guys so we can buddy read and snuffle on the poor stuffed manatee together if we need to… but I just couldn’t hold off any longer.

SO good! I can’t wait until it comes out so you guys can tell me what you think…

Cheryl May 26, 2015 at 9:28 PM

Maryse, reading your review I want to read this book right now too; but I guess I’ll have to wait till July!! Ugh!! ;)

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 9:41 AM

Your review made the story so fascinating. I can’t wait to find it when it comes out. I love the cover, with her legs crossed it says so much with that image. Thank you for being so enthusiastic! It makes it all so much more fun. Even though reading and writing is a lonely thing, talking about books and writing can be so full of people, and friendly support. So wonderful!

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