Maybe in Another Life

- Taylor Jenkins Reid


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.



It’s a good thing I booked an aisle seat, because I’m the last one on the plane.


I’ve been on a bit of a TJR high, so it’s hard to admit that Maybe in Another Life wasn’t quite as good as I convinced myself it was. Deep down, the emo teenager I still am struggles to accept that drama is not love.

The most challenging obstacle an author has to overcome in these parallel reality narratives is that telling two full stories in one book is pretty impossible. The two realities will inevitably feel a little shallow, a little one-dimensional. I did like how TJR had the two worlds play off each other, giving little spoilers or nuggets to look forward to.
Like finding out Hannah was pregnant and lost her baby in one life before she knows she’s pregnant and is just getting together with her ex in the other. Or finding out Carl was cheating on Gabby in one before he leaves her in the other.
It worked well to tease big moments and to keep the two worlds connected in ways that made them both plausible.

The ending, or should I say endings – because two realities, right? – were a little too HEA for my taste. There were so many good things about the outcomes of these two worlds that made them too good to be true. And it leaned a little too heavily on knowing when you meet the right person. Because how can that be the moral of the story when we’ve got two outcomes with two right people? It’s basically saying you’re with the right person when you know it – until they (or you) do something to fuck it up. Then it was obviously the wrong person. But when you meet the right one, you’ll know. It all felt very LA woo-woo to me. Also, double the instalove is two too many instaloves.



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