About the Book:
What if you could take a vacation to your past?
With her celebrated humor, insight, and heart, beloved New York Times bestseller Emma Straub offers her own twist on traditional time travel tropes, and a different kind of love story.
On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, her romantic status, her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But her father is ailing, and it feels to her as if something is missing. When she wakes up the next morning she finds herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday. But it isn’t just her adolescent body that shocks her, or seeing her high school crush, it’s her dad: the vital, charming, 40-something version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything that she would change if she could?
“It was like there were two of her, the teenage Alice and the grown-up Alice, sharing the same tiny patch of human real estate.”
What a fabulous story! Marin Ireland’s engaging narration should not be missed.
What I think I loved most about the incredibly poignant and insightful book was the lovely relationship both the adult Alice and the teenage Alice had with her father Leonard. No unnecessary drama, just a wonderful and caring father-daughter relationship. I don’t know what else I can say about this story other than it was fantastic. I always loved ’13 Going on 30′ and this book was a little of that, dressed up with more insight and self-awareness. Alice wakes up after drinking too much on her 40th birthday only to find out the year is 1996 and she is 16 again! The author handles the dual Alice’s deftly and never gets into too much detail about the time travel. But just enough to be intriguing!
Alice’s father is an author whose novel ‘Time Brothers’ was made into a cult television show. So time travel was always present in both timelines. Alice grew up in the magical New York City neighborhood of Pomander Walk (a real place!) and became an admissions officer at her former elite prep school. She turned down a marriage proposal on her 40th birthday and lo and behold, soon learns that she can return to her 16th birthday over and over again. The concept of time travel has always fascinated me. Can Alice change the course of the future by altering her actions in 1996?
“Her vision was clear, but it was coming from two different feeds. Alice was herself, only herself, but she was both herself then and herself now. She was forty and she was sixteen.”
All Alice wants to do is improve Leonard’s health so that he is not ill in the present day. What follows are a series of mind-bending adventures and poignant realizations that every second, every minute matters.
“What a very long time one had to be an adult, after rushing through childhood and adolescence.”
This book is never sugary-sweet or trite. It is funny, sad, intelligent and fast-paced. And New York City is literally a main character in the story! As Emma Straub said in her newsletter: “They say time travel isn’t real, but I don’t know. I think it’s all a matter of being in the right place at the right time.” This is a very special book that has a special place in my heart!