Although we all know that we're not to judge a book by it's cover, occasionally there is an exception to the rule. This was reinforced recently when a fellow staff member and I both found ourselves reaching for the exact same book among the rows and rows of books available at our library. Although there was no captivating photo or intriguing graphic on the cover, something about the title and the font used to spell it out appealed to both of us. Go figure!
That book, "In Some Other World, Maybe" a novel by Shari Goldhagen did not disappoint.
From the author's website:
"In December 1992, three groups of teenagers head to the theater to see the movie version of the famed Eons & Empires comic books. For Adam it’s a last ditch effort to connect with something (actually, someone, the girl he’s had a crush on for years) in his sleepy Florida town before he leaves for good. Passionate fan Sharon skips school in Cincinnati so she can fully appreciate the flick without interruption from her vapid almost-friends—a seemingly silly indiscretion with shocking consequences. And in suburban Chicago, Phoebe and Ollie simply want to have a nice first date and maybe fool around in the dark, if everyone they know could just stop getting in the way.
Over the next two decades, these unforgettable characters criss-cross the globe, becoming entwined by friendship, sex, ambition, fame and tragedy. A razor-sharp, darkly comic page-turner, In Some Other World, Maybe sheds light on what it means to grow up in modern America."
That's the story, in a nutshell...the author certainly knows her material. She also knows how to create multi-dimensional characters whom, just when you think you've gotten to know them, surprise the heck out of you! Although this is not a suspense novel, I'd definitely call it a page turner. I found myself wanting to keep going from chapter to chapter just to see what the characters were going to pull next.
Also from the author's website, praise for "In Some Other World, Maybe" from her highly esteemed peers:
“In Some Other World, Maybe beguiled me so much during recent flights that I forgot I was in the air! Engaging, entertaining, saucy, and poignant, this ingenious six-degrees-of-separation novel is one you’ll be so happy you read. So much fun.”–Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers
“A fully self-possessed novelist, in command of large figurations, shrewd intelligence and wit, and a fine eye for the world and the American sentence.” –Richard Ford
“In Some Other World, Maybe is a beautiful, haunting, insightful novel woven masterfully together. Goldhagen writes about the struggles of growing up, of relationships, of fame, celebrity and the merging of the inner and outer worlds in a narrative so bullet-train fast, it’s nearly impossible to put down. And her characters are real and complex and subtly defined. How does Goldhagen juggle these many elements, while still managing to make the book as funny as she does? You’ll just have to read it to find out. Because In Some Other World, Maybe is funny as hell–and deeply profound.” –Nic Sheff, New York Times bestselling author of Tweak and We All Fall Down
“Makes the glamorous seem strikingly familiar and the mundane sparkle with new possibility. Goldhagen spins a lyrical saga that finds an unusual balance between hip and wise, with unforgettable and utterly human characters at its heart. I will not soon shake this book.” –Jillian Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of Some Girls and Pretty
“This is a wonderfully rich story of what might be and what might have been. Goldhagen writes with authority about show business and popular culture as she tells this ageless and all too human tale of the mistakes and the compromises that we all make for the sake of love. This book will entertain you, perhaps even titillate you, but above all it will touch your heart.” –Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
“Shari Goldhagen writes with a special, effortless kind of magic–her characters (even when they’re movie stars) feel real: maddening and beguiling, funny and heartbreaking. This novel is a story about coincidence and connection, about lives spinning in and out of control over decades and across the globe, but it’s also about people who seem like friends, people we desperately want–no matter how badly they screw up–to turn out all right.” –Christopher Coake, author of You Came Back and We’re in Trouble
“A sprawling novel about growing up and setting off on your own, about going to Hollywood but remembering your beginnings. Goldhagen has given us memorable and appealing characters, and their stories all moved me. By the last page, I felt like we had become friends. I already miss them.” — Christine Sneed, author of Little Known Facts
“Shari Goldhagen brilliantly weaves together the lives of her characters into a tapestry that feels expertly crafted, and, at the same time, satisfyingly human and real. This is a gem of a book, the kind that I will savor long after reading.” –Cristina Alger, author of The Darlings
“In Some Other World, Maybe is funny and deft and moving and sweet. It’s tender then explosive, sexy then raw. Shari Goldhagen is a writer of force and intelligence, humor and warmth, heart and heartbreak, darkness and light, and this novel has it all.” –Bill Roorbach, author of Life Among Giants
“In Some Other World, Maybe is nothing less than an exploration of our hearts, the surprising places they lead us, the ways they break and the infinite ways they can heal. And it is an absolute delight of a novel, spilling over with questions of fate and choice, and characters so richly drawn and sympathetic, that the loves and struggles of an interconnected group of men and women felt as real and as essential to me as my own. In Some Other World, Maybe hijacked my life and vaulted me completely into Shari Goldhagen’s world.” –Lauren Fox, author of Still Life with Husband and Friends Like Us
“Shari Goldhagen is one of those remarkable writers whose work simultaneously captivates the mind and captures the heart, and it’s hard to know what to admire more in this beautifully written novel: the craftsmanship of the story—intricate and deliberate and finely formed as a well-made watch—or the messy, yearning, and wholly compelling characters who inhabit it. This is a book filled with people so flawed and funny and heart-achingly familiar that, upon finishing, I felt that I was parting ways with a group of close and precious friends—I loved this novel.” –Aryn Kyle, international bestselling author of The God of Animals
The description "funny" is used several times in some of the authors reviews. I can honestly say that I never once found the book funny, in the traditional sense. If you're looking for something that will make you laugh out loud, in my opinion this is not it. If you're looking for a book, however, that reminds us of how funny (translation: weird) "fame" and it's pursuit can be, how funny it is that the people we meet and the choices we make so very much affect how a life can play out, how funny it is to realize that sometimes the bumps in the road can alter those choices in ways we'd never even imagined, I'd suggest you try immersing yourself "In Some Other World, Maybe", and enjoy the ride.