I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Published by Dutton Books on February 7th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Time Travel
You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we'd have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren's 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn't necessary.
Except Tom just can't seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that's before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.
But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.
This book was smart, funny, and incredibly human. I loved it. Rather than tearing through it as I usually would, I read it slowly, wanting to savor each moment. It was incredibly entertaining and yet still managed to be a heartfelt reflection on what it means to live. It reads like a cross between The Martian and The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, with a somewhat irreverent approach that still manages to be deep.
Tom was a narrator in the style of Mark Watney (minus some swearing). He’s a screw-up and more focused on women and love than making something of himself in his world. Despite that, he is incredibly easy to connect to (perhaps due to the slightly self-deprecating sense of humor?). I adored him as a narrator.
One hazard of science fiction novels is that sometimes they get so technical, you no longer recognize which way is up. All Our Wrong Todays absolutely does not have that problem. Since Tom is essentially technologically illiterate, his explanations are very down to earth and easily understandable. For those of you more interested in the science and various theories about time travel/continuing theories, those are explored as well (mostly through conversations between secondary characters).
While this is a science fiction book, it ultimately is about more than adventure. It’s about family and love and what it means to be human. In a way, it’s a coming of age tale set against a fantastic backdrop. The author does an absolutely fantastic job of exploring human emotions, the good AND the ugly. Incomprehensible events happen (as they do in everyone’s life) and the characters have to learn how to continue living.
Penny was the perfect love interest. She was funny, smart, and imperfect. She made Tom a better man and didn’t allow him to lose sight of himself. The contrast between the carnal relationship of Penelope and Tom with the warm, loving one of Penny and Tim was very well done and really highlighted the differences between the two worlds. There was one scene in particular with Penny that was difficult to read. I was glad that the author showed the fallout of those decisions. The emotional aftermath was brutal and really delved into the heart of their relationship.
All Our Wrong Todays is a book to read slowly, savoring the experience the way you would a fine wine. Even if you don’t normally read science fiction, I think you’ll enjoy this book. I highly recommend this book that will leave you contemplating it long after you’ve finished reading. I would absolutely recommend this book.