- Audiobook Review
- Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
- Performed by Julia Whelan
- Released: August 2015 by Dreamscape Media
- Category: Contemporary, Romance
From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.
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.
Since graduating from college, twenty-nine year old Hannah Martin’s life has, so far, been without direction or purpose. Constantly on the move with no clear idea of what she wants to do with her life, Hannah decides to go back home to Los Angeles after a disastrous time in New York and an unfortunate affair with a married man. She moves in with her best friend, Gabby and Mark, Gabby’s husband while she gets her life together. On a night out with Gabby, Hannah meets her high school boyfriend, Ethan. They’d been very close but life had taken them in different directions.
Just after midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go, Ethan offers to take her home if she wants to stay out a little longer. From then on the storyline splits into two timelines. One takes Hannah home with Gabby, in the other she stays with Ethan. The following chapters alternate simultaneously between the two parallel universes and show how Hannah’s life, and that of those around her, unfolds in each one.
As Hannah lives out the results of both her decisions, each impact on her and the people in her life in different ways with independent outcomes. There are no right or wrong choices and this story made me think about, and explore, the concept of destiny or fate and how making one small choice could change the course of a life and take it in a completely different direction. Some events happen in both interpretations, so maybe some things are destined to be, no matter what. The rest are individual to each version, and both show how choices and the results shape Hannah, and Gabby to a lesser extent because she’s a stronger person, into the people they become. I love the relationship between the two of them.
You and I are a team, right? Whatever you face in life, I’ll face it with you. Let’s get through this together. Lean on me. Squeeze my hand. When it hurts so bad you don’t think you can stand it, squeeze my hand. Divide the pain in two. And give half of it to me.
Maybe In Another Life explores forgiveness, family and relationships, and always there is the deep bond of friendship between Hannah and Gabby which is constant throughout both storylines. They are both so different, not only in skin colour but in attitude and approach to life as well, yet their relationship couldn’t be closer. Gabby is a great character, supportive and sympathetic, and she brings a lot to the story.
I was invested in the story and very interested to see where the author would take Hannah, and the idea of how much of our lives are actually down to fate. Do the small decisions we make all the time influence the end result or does whatever we choose ultimately lead us to our destiny. I’ve read a couple of books with the ‘what if’ and multiverse themes and I find the premise fascinating.
The story is told from Hannah’s perspective and flows well and imaginatively, the dialogue is realistic and the characters have distinct personalities and are easy to relate to. Hannah’s concurrent lives are easy to follow and give insight into her persona(s) dependent on which path she chose. A very enjoyable, easy, and sometimes moving, listen which gives pause for thought. I confess I was a little conflicted about the epilogues though.
Julia Whelan is an excellent narrator, creating the emotions and bringing the story alive.
About the author
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author, essayist, and TV writer from Acton, Massachusetts. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted, has been optioned with Dakota Johnson attached to star. Her second book, After I Do, was called a “must read” by Kirkus. Her most recent novel, Maybe In Another Life has been featured in People, Cosmo, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, PopSugar, USA Today and more.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit.