Title: Maybe in Another Life
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published: 7th July 2015
Genre: Romance, Fiction
Start Date: 15th June 2022
Finish Date: 18th June 2022
At twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six 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 returning 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 if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she goes with Ethan?
In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. These parallel universes quickly develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah and 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 thinks she's found him.
Maybe in Another Life is an exciting concept, but it did not resonate with me the same way as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Malibu Rising, One True Loves and Daisy Jones &The Six. The alternate timelines mimic each other even down to similar sentences being repeated, which became repetitive. Even though it did not resonate with me, I still wanted to finish it.
This book very much reminded me of the movie Sliding Doors starring Gwyneth Paltrow; this was before Gwyneth Paltrow became less popular, so many people would have seen the film. I know many books about possible parallel realities, so I can't say Taylor Jenkins Reids ripped off a story just because she followed the concept and then discussed two possible futures.
Though saying that, the resemblance to Sliding Doors is not just within the concept. In Reality 1, it seems like everything goes wrong. Hannah is hit by a car, her supposed soul mate goes home with another girl, and everything is dreadful. In Reality 2, Hannah goes home with her supposed soul mate. They instantly declare their love for each other, she gets a new car and job, and the universe smiles benevolently upon her.
One of the things I disliked about Maybe in Another Life is how little time passes. Usually, we are in the story of at least six months, but everything happens within a couple of weeks, except the final chapters, which jump ahead three years. I finished this feeling unsatisfied because it felt like I breezed through some starters and never had a main.
Another thing I disliked was how bland the male leads were. Hannah manages to have two different perfect guys fall in love with her in a matter of minutes in their respective realities. In my opinion, they are only 'perfect' because Taylor Jenkins Reid does not have to tell you any details about them that could make them seem imperfect but real due to the short timeline and the brevity of the content about the men.
Do you know how an author needs a few books to get into her groove? Maybe in Another Life is Taylor Jenkins Reid getting into her groove. Apart from my few dislikes, I liked that this book was different and a little unusual. It was Taylor Jenkins Reid experimenting with new ideas, trying to find her voice.