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🇺🇸 Review | Maybe in another life – Taylor Jenkins Reid

by Aileen

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I’m a member of a (mainly American) online book club and of course, that’s a great place to find new books! 
I think my tbr-pile tripled in size since I joined – but that’s another story for another time. One book that was recommended to me in this book club was “Maybe in another life” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I listened to the audiobook, and I never regretted it.

[unpaid advertisement, self-bought book] 
My rating: ★★★★☆

The story

Hannah is a 29-year-old lady who has spent previous years working on meaningless jobs moving from one place to another in search of a better life. She still doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life and does not have any plan on how to go about this either.
So she ends up going back to the city that feels most like home to her: Los Angeles. When she arrives, she is welcomed with open arms by her best friend Gabby. 

One night, they go out for a beer, and coincidentally meet Hannah’s ex-boyfriend Ethan. When it is time for Gabby to leave, Ethan asks Hannah to stay, and he offers to give her a ride later on.  What shall she do – go home with Gabby, or enjoy the evening and stay for a while with Ethan?

In “Maybe in another life”, the reader can follow the immediate and long-term effects of this decision, because Taylor Jenkins Reid provides us with two concurrent storylines: One where Hannah follows Gabby and one where she stays with Ethan. Who would expect what big effect such a simple decision could have?

My opinion

I love the idea of the whole book to show how such a simple decision can direct your life in the opposite direction. Throughout the whole book, I asked myself what could have been if I had taken different decisions. What if I had never started blogging? I probably would not sit here, writing this review. What could I have done if I wasn’t blogging right now? Maybe my life would take a different turn if I was seeing a friend, doing sports or watching a TV show right now. Who knows? 

One great topic that came up in the book was if something was “meant to be”. This book made me doubt it. But then again – why not? You only know one version of your life. Maybe there are millions (or even more) parallel worlds out there like some scientists assume, but still, I would only live my life. So, does it really matter?

What matters though, is that every decision can have a huge effect on your own and other people’s lives. So, one thing I learned from this book is that you should think about your choices. Still, I’m not going to question every step I take or every carrot I eat. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life worrying. In most cases, I would not be able to say if it was the right decision or not afterward anyways. 

The book itself was very well written. I found both the storylines and the characters extremely believable.
I loved the little ironic moments in the book. For example, when they talked about what could have happened in another life (and of course, it’s exactly what is happening in the other storyline).

As I mentioned earlier, I listened to this book as an audiobook with Julia Whelan as a narrator. I already read her book, “My Oxford Year” some months back, and I loved it. I didn’t know she was a narrator of audiobooks also, but she did a fantastic job! I can easily get annoyed by some narrator’s voices and then stop listening after only a few chapters. But Julia’s voice was so calm and easy to listen to, and I am hoping to get more books narrated by her.

The cover

I like the cover and think that it is a great representation of the story and Hannah’s character. The two paintings on the cover represent the two storylines very well. The woman’s posture communicates the indecisiveness she faces at the moment Ethan asks her to stay.
I liked that; it is an abstract image, even though it communicates so much. This way, I can still use my imagination for all the places described in the book.

Conclusion

I love this book and can definitely recommend it! I was wondering for a long time if I should rate it four or five stars, and I’m still unsure what to rate it. I think I will go for a four-star rating – not because there is anything wrong with this book, but just because I need to save the five stars for extraordinarily outstanding books.

Taylor Jenkins Reid: Maybe in another life
Verlag: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Duration: 9 hours and 9 minutes
ASIN: B013JCR2WO

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