I picked this book because I had seen it on a few lists of recommended book club books. I also am a sucker for alternate timelines. We haven’t ever read anything that is science fiction-y in our book club so I also thought it could be fun to push my friends a little out of their comfort zone.
What I thought
This book took me a little while to get into because the narrators voice is very distinct. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed it!
Tom lives in a utopian/futuristic 2016. While there are still issues such as small crime and heartbreak, there are no longer bigger problems such as war. In 1965 the scientist Lionel Gottreider invented a machine that could create limitless, clean energy. This lead to a fast creation of technology and a world which is similar to the Jetsons. In fact, Tom’s dad is currently working on creating a time machine to go back to the moment that Gottreider flipped on the machine that changed the world. However, hen Toms jumps back to the present, he ends up in our “dystopian” 2016 instead of his own.
This book is so well thought out I can’t even begin to explain it. All of the scientific elements are explained and so thorough that I fully expect someone to try these things and create them in real life. But even though this science-fiction novel is solid with the science, there is a lot of good fiction too.
When Tom wakes up in his alternate universe’s body, he is, of course, the same but different. His dystopian 2016 personality is named John and John has been having dreams from Tom’s world and memories. The other aspect I really enjoyed was that when Tom tried to explain what had happened to his family, the legitimately thought he was mentally ill. Which, you know, if my brother came up to me saying he wasn’t really my brother that I knew but was from an alternate version of our reality, I wouldn’t think he was sane ether. But Mastai wrote this aspect of the book really well.
With the exception of the ending, which I found a bit confusing I really enjoyed this book. It made me realize that I may be more of a sci-fi fan than I thought!
What Book Club Thought
We had some interesting discussion about our personal feelings of time travel and whether or not we believe it could truly happen. It was a lot of fun to discuss! Everyone enjoyed the book and felt that the voice of the book was unique adn interesting. There were definitely some parts of the book that were confusing that we needed to clarify as a group, but overall it was a lot of fun and easy to read. The best part was that no one seemed to have major issues with this book!