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A fork in the road | Taylor Jenkins Reid’s newest

When I think back on a decision crossroads, I always go back to  the first big decision I ever made: where to go to college. If I hadn’t chosen my small liberal arts college near the beach, I wouldn’t have been kicked out and forced to go somewhere else because that college was in debt. Sure, I got to sample two very different college experiences because of this occurrence but this rarity shifted so much for me. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have made the friends I did, met my husband — all of which in many tiny twists of fate led me to Magan and the start of this blog and a whole other series of events that might not have happened. If my one college application hadn’t gotten lost in the mail, maybe I would have went away to school with my best friend and we’d still be close now. Or maybe after all that, I would still be here, relocated to an apartment outside of Manhattan, married to a student from the last graduating class of that defunct college. Maybe it would have all turned out the way it has. Or maybe somewhere, in some other universe, I’m an English teacher in a small town in New Jersey, married to my high school boyfriend.

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid was published on 7/7/15 by Washington Square Press/Atria Books; 352 Pages.

It’s hard to say, but here I am, anyway, sharing Maybe in Another Life — another thoughtful, and wonderful story from Taylor Jenkins Reid. Reid is an author who is always forcing me to evaluate my own life and my decisions — whether its marriage, friendship, or finding comfort in the fact that not everyone has their life figured out when they hit their 30s. In her books, life isn’t about perfection or moving forward safely, it’s about the messy, difficult things that bring us closer to people and push us apart — that make us like ourselves, and make us dislike ourselves a little bit too. It’s so rare to find people that let their walls down, and gladly share their imperfections so it’s a relief to find books like Maybe in Another Life stripped down to the unhappy, sloppy parts without becoming melodramatic. Instead, in Taylor’s books, you find a confidante, someone familiar and questioning just as much as you are.

At 29, main character Hannah is feeling lost. After moving from place to place, she’s finally headed back to California — to her best friend, and who knows what other possibilities. Maybe a second chance with her ex. Hopefully a new job and a place to live on her own. Instead of following along as Hannah goes left or right, readers see Hannah living out two sides of her own story: one where she leaves a party with her ex, Ethan, and another where she leaves the same party with her best friend, Gabby. Where would these parallel circumstances converge? How would my heart take it when I couldn’t decide which life was actually better over the other? Though each story takes a different path, the similarities are there: Hannah’s love of cinnamon buns, the distance she feels from her parents and sister, and, most importantly, her affection and bond with Gabby. I don’t say this about a lot of books (and I wish I did) but Maybe in Another Life is a subtle but solid ode to best girlfriendship in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time. When nothing makes any sense, Gabby is Hannah’s constant and it’s the best love story I could ever imagine.

Fate, love, lust, responsibility, how we take care of each other and take care of ourselves: it’s all rolled up in this riveting and charming story with a special Taylor twist. No matter what road you find yourself on, Maybe in Another Life is a necessary companion for your next adventure.

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I also loved this Q&A that Taylor did with Marie Claire.

December 31, 2015 - 10:16 am

What This Book Gave To Me, Estelle - […] keeping with the highs of the year, both Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer and Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid made me think of the steady females in my life (the golden old ones, and the […]

July 31, 2015 - 9:23 am

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - Ah I love this review, Estelle! I’ll always be thankful that you introduced me to Taylor Jenkins Reid with your review of Forever, Interrupted. I’d hate to think that I might have missed out on these awesome books! I love what you’ve written about Maybe in Another Life, and I wholeheartedly agree with all of it. This was one of my favorite friendships I’ve read in a long time! I love that you call it “the best love story I could ever imagine.” SO TRUE!

July 23, 2015 - 3:54 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - *heart this review*

I love stories like this. Somehow I missed that Maybe in Another Life involved a character following two paths, but I know now and I am so excited to read it.

I think about crossroads like this all the time. Small ones like what if I never joined my college newspaper and big ones like what if I was never forced to quit a job and follow a circuitous path to my current place of employ. Or, even crazier, what if I never had to have an internship in high school and never started working in libraries at all?

I refer, in all seriousness, to Alternate Universe Emma who I sometimes suspect is a bit cooler than me (maybe with pink hair or the tattoo I’ll never get) but it’s hard to imagine–even with all the bends in the road and the uncertainty about other areas–that I’m not right where I’m supposed to be and on track to whatever big finish life has in store.

July 22, 2015 - 12:33 pm

Alexa S. - I loved reading your thoughts on Maybe in Another Life, E! You seriously have a way with words, and I totally feel like you expressed EXACTLY how this story made me feel with this post. So happy you loved it too!

July 18, 2015 - 11:31 pm

Amy - Putting this on my To Read list! I love “friend love” stories, and you are right, I don’t read about them often enough. It’s a special kind of love that doesn’t always make the best prime-time film, but all the early morning phone calls, “please-help” text messages, quick lunch dates are really what helps get me through life. Thanks for your review!

July 16, 2015 - 12:35 pm

Lauren @ Bookmark Lit - I’ve been resisting the urge to write incredibly lengthy comments on every single review for this, because I think about this ALL the time and talk about it way too much. I always alwaysss wonder where my life would be if I made different decisions (esp. in regards to college). Her books sound amazing and I can’t believe I haven’t gotten around to them yet. I think this is going to be the celebratory book I buy tonight for my one year blogiversary! I need it in my life.

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