Reviews tagging Xenophobia

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin

8 reviews

owenwilsonbaby's review

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dark emotional funny reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

"Maybe it was the willingness to play that hinted at a tender, eternally newborn part in all humans. Maybe it was the willingness to play that kept one from despair."

A book that had so many lines I wanted to include here that I actually found it pretty hard to choose. Zevin has crafted such a wonderful piece of art. There are so many layers to this that I think I need to reread it almost immediately. The entire last third made me want to ugly cry. Every scene of this book was on the surface about moving its tightly-wound plot onward, yet simultaneously managed to further an extraordinary portrait of play, art, ethics, performance, love and sex, disability and illness, relationships and family. Zevin's ideas about these varied topics are finely painted, always finding room for levity, lightness, nuance and exploration. At the same time, the scenes that lean more heavily into these themes never feel like they lack depth. If anything, the lightness of touch here in everything from narrative voice to plotting to recurrent images and motifs felt carefully considered. I learned so much about the gaming world and its history which I have never really interacted with before. And yet most of all I feel the novel's important insights boiled down to how humans relate to and care for another. That despite everything, in the end, love can be very simple. The conversation with Dong Hyun near the ending of the book where he incredulously looks at Sam and says "Are you kidding? [...] Everything is funny now." Insane. I wanted to sob.

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lunarsace's review

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challenging emotional inspiring reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

I loved the book, but I can't help but feel like a good chunk of it was the "failed to communicate" trope. Also,

Spoiler I absolutely hated the Dov segments, how he's seemingly forgiven despite being a groomer not once, BUT TWICE! And just felt sad for Sadie and the amount of casual Sexism she had to put up with. I understand that's the point, but she deserved to look back and think, huh, man that was totally unfair. Not to mention Sams pure misogyny towards the end of the book never being addressed, and I do find him making pioneer sweet, but his view on Marx and Sadie was really messed up and never cleared up. I understand that it doesn't need to end perfectly, but sams trauma is treated way more sympathetically by the characters and writer vs Sadies, who had given up so much and suffered so much but was still perceived as selfish and childish


If you want more positive comments, people have articulated the positives of the book way better than I ever could and I do wholeheartedly agree. I just needed to add my criticisms to the pile. 

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kazfreedman's review

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emotional funny hopeful inspiring reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.75


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catbuechler's review

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4.0


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marieqc's review

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adventurous emotional funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

I liked this so much more than what I thought I would. it's a gamers (non derogatory) coming of age and considering I know very little about gaming it was still very much enjoyable. lloré, me rei, sufrí por los personajes y sus fallas como personas completas. I loved the NPC part.

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jennastopreading's review

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emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5

Thank you Knopf for my advance readers copy of this book!

As a huge Gabrielle Zevin fan (The Storied Life of AJ Fikry is my FAVORITE book of all time), this is a hard review for me to write. Mainly because this book was a tricky one for me to read.

Here's what I liked about this story: Zevin has a way of creating characters and scenarios that feel like something you can search on Google to read more about. The people, the company they started, the entire story felt like it was based on real events, and I love when I'm reading about people that feel like they should have their own Wikipedia page.

I also LOVED the opening of this book. I was absolutely entranced for the first 50 or so pages, and I was excited to read a beautiful story about two flawed people. The beginning really satisfied my reader heart, but from there on out, it fizzled.

Now, onto the reason that this book didn't receive 5 stars from me...

First of all; literary fiction is not my go to genre. I am quick to admit that, and when I received this book, I don't know that I knew it was a lit fic novel. So if this is your genre of choice, PLEASE read the review of someone else and do not continue with mine - you will probably find an opinion closer to yours!

That being said, the writing style(s) in this book just did not work for me. The writing changed multiple times throughout the story and it made it hard for me to keep up. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to enjoy it, but I found it really hard to follow. The nonlinear timeline also made things tricky for me, and I think the chapter titles really could've benefitted from having the year in which it is set listed on them.

Additionally, some of the words used in this book felt like they were pulled straight from a thesaurus. I am of average intelligence, but as a reader with a relatively high vocabulary, I still found this hard to read. The use of words that I'd never heard (e.g. verisimilitude, umlaut) really pulled me out of the story.

Secondly, I had a hard time connecting to the story because of the amount of video game references throughout. Maybe if I'd played anything more than the occasional game of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 on my brothers PS2 as a 7 year old it would appeal to me more, but I found the amount of video game references and explanations to be tiring.

Thirdly, the pacing in this story was agonizingly slow. Not only did it feel like nothing was happening throughout, but at the end of it...it still felt like nothing happened. Not much character development happened in my opinion - both Sadie and Sam were still argumentative and hard headed. And the rest of the book was just as dissatisfying.

All in all, this is not the first Zevin book I would recommend to someone. I very much enjoyed Young Jane Young and The Storied Life of AJ Fikry more. They felt like they were written by an entirely different person, though, so sadly this was just not for me.

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internationalreads's review against another edition

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dark emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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momsmagicreads's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful reflective
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is not just a book for gamers. While it gives the non-gamer a beginner-level peek into the world of video games, it is most of all a story of love and friendship that, in a way, challenges the definition of friendship by recognizing the almost indescribable nature of some relationships. 
“...but ‘friend’ was a broad category, wasn’t it? ‘Friend’ was a word that was overused to the point that it had no meaning at all.”

Although described as being “about two childhood friends, once estranged,” this book has three main characters. The friendship between Sam and Sadie is where it begins, but Max is far too important to each of their stories to be left out. In fact, the story is alternately told from all three of their perspectives.

This novel challenges us to love all of the layers of a person:
“It was easy to dislike the man; it was harder to dislike the little boy who existed just beneath the surface of the man.”
“The best colors of Sadie Green are not her darkness.”

And describes to us the beauty and benefit of failure:
“The fabric is not just a fabric. It’s the story of failure and perseverance, of the discipline of a craftsman, of the life of an artist.”

Several current topics of importance such as race, gender, sexual preference, gay marriage, relationship violence, and disability are woven into the story, both in the real and gaming worlds. Sadie struggles throughout the story with the recognition of her work within the male-dominated gaming world, among other women’s issues. Sam and Max are both from multi-racial families and we learn how this affects them throughout their lives.

During the years we spend with Sam, Sadie, and Max we see that, alongside their personal struggles, friendship and love make their world much richer which, in turn, allows them to see, do, and experience more than they ever imagined.
“What is love, in the end? …Except the irrational desire to put evolutionary competitiveness aside in order to ease someone else’s journey through life?”

I was delighted by Zevin’s writing style - not only the sentence structure, but the word choices that challenged me to learn more. Susurrus, izakaya, or Torschlusspanik, anyone? Zevin’s work is full of unusual and beautiful metaphors beyond comparisons to gaming, (“... a mortifyingly psychosomatic weathervane…”), humor of all flavors (“...you, like most humans, have redundancies built in. Your pancreas is, heartbreakingly, single.”), and references to visual art, literature, theatre, music, geography, and more. It is both broad and deep, joyful and heartbreaking, and beautifully weaves the fantasy world into the real world. 

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