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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow


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Book Review

Sadie and Sam formed a friendship over video games, and they eventually became world-respected game makers together. But when it comes to actually getting along now? Well, that’s a much tougher game to play.

Plot Summary

The first time that Sadie Green and Sam Masur met, it wasn’t exactly a cheery time for either of them. It was in a Los Angeles children’s hospital game room: a tiny closet of a space with a small TV, a Nintendo game console and a couple of chairs.

Sadie was there in the hospital because of her sister’s illness. And after an argument erupts between the girls, Sadie’s mom suggested she go out in the hallway for a bit of a breather.

So, the 11-year-old finds her way to the out-of-the-way game room and slips in to watch some boy her age play Super Mario Bros.

That boy, Sam Masur, had been in a terrible car accident that killed his mom and painfully obliterated the bones in his left foot. Of course, Sadie doesn’t know any of that. She just slips in and almost silently finds a bond with a game-focused kid. They talk. They play the game. And soon, they’re fast friends.

Afterward, the nurses are thrilled. After all, Sam Masur had stopped talking around them. In fact, in nearly every sense he had emotionally shut down.

The nurses eagerly ask Sadie to please stop by again. They smile. They give her a hug. And Sadie’s mom even suggests that it might be the perfect thing to count toward community service that Sadie must perform for her upcoming bat mitzvah.

So, Sadie comes back. She returns to play with Sam over the course of many weeks of foot-restructuring surgeries. And she stealthily presents the nurses with her time sheet at the end of every visit. Hey, it even earns her a special service award for her hundreds of hours of time.

But she’s not there for an award. Sadie is there for Sam. And games. They’re both there for the games. And they both find a friend.

That’s not to suggest that it was happily ever after for the two young pals. They had their squabbles, their falling outs. Then they became totally estranged. But years later they accidentally run into each other again in Boston.

Sadie’s one of a minority of women at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the late 1990s—interested in, of all things, game making. And Sam is a scholarship kid at Harvard, who painfully limps around on a foot held together by steel rods and hope.

Their reunion in a local subway lobby is sort of happenstance. It’s a bit awkward. But the embers of their past friendship begin to glow once more. The old jokes resurface. The familiar expressions appear. And before Sadie jumps into her train to head back to school, she turns to Sam.

Do you still game? She asks him.

Yes, Sam answers with too much enthusiasm. Definitely. All the time.

Here. Sadie presses a 3.25 disk into his hand—her first attempt at a video game. You’re probably super busy but give it a play if you have the time. I’d love to know what you think.

Then the train door closes behind her. And she’s gone.

Sam plays the game. It’s good. And Sam begins to toy with the idea of making a game himself. With Sadie. Would such a thing be possible?

What happens next will become game-making lore that’s shared over and over again at game conventions and online forums. It’s a story that grows and morphs with time. It becomes almost as well known as a story about two 11-year-olds who meet in a children’s hospital game room.

And neither of those tales … are a love story.

Christian Beliefs

A man kneels to pray after being part of a horrific crime.

Other Belief Systems

Both Sadie and Sam come from a Jewish background. But other than a mention of younger Sadie’s bat mitzvah, there isn’t any mention of that faith being a part of their lives.

Progressive ideals are the most prominent belief system promoted here, including beliefs about sexuality, race, gender and identity.

Authority Roles

Sam’s mom is loving, but she dies when Sam is just a boy. And his father—a man who Sam’s mother dated but never married—isn’t around. So Sam’s true guardians are his Korean grandparents, Dong Hyun and Bong Chu. They are loving and supportive. Their guidance shapes Sam for the better.

We don’t learn much about Sadie’s parents. That said, her mother seems concerned about her children. And Sadie’s grandmother, Freda, comforts Sadie during a difficult part of her life.

In college, Sadie meets a gifted game maker/professor named Dov. He gives her help with her game-making career. And the two become lovers, even though he’s older and married. He promises to divorce, but frankly, he’s a self-absorbed, arrogant, and fairly deceptive individual.

Sadie and Sam have a few dear friends, but the standout is a guy named Marx. He’s kind, supportive and giving. And while in college, he and Sam are roommates. Marx becomes a producer and co-owner in Sadie and Sam’s game-making company. And he eventually becomes Sadie’s lover.

Profanity & Violence

The language is raw at times, with f-words and uses of “d–n,” “b–ch,” and “h—” in the mix. Both God’s and Jesus’ names are misused. (“God” is combined with “d–n.”)

Characters drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and snort cocaine.

Sam’s ravaged foot is at the center of much of this book’s violence. The bloody accident that killed Sam’s mother and crushed that limb are fully described. And we hear about another accident he had that broke the ankle on that same leg. Eventually he has the foot removed and suffers excruciating bouts of phantom pain.

We’re told of a terrorist-like attack where two men (one a central character) are shot by a gunman. Then the gunman commits suicide, shooting himself in the head. Sam deals with the bloody mess left behind. One of the wounded goes into a coma and dies a couple months later. Someone dies a slow-and-painful death from cancer.

Sexual Content

We hear about numerous love affairs. We’re not told many details, but every one of the young adults we meet (both gay and straight) have them.

As mentioned, Sadie has a reoccurring affair with Dov. We also hear that their sexual interludes can become somewhat abusive with rough sex and bondage. Sadie has several different sexual partners in the course of the story. She has both an abortion and gives birth to a live child.

Two game makers in Sam and Sadie’s company are gay: They kiss and marry. It’s also during that same time frame that one of the company’s online games starts handing out gay marriage licenses in-game. (This choice spurs an attack by angry “right-wing” killers.)

Discussion Topics


Additional Comments

This book follows a 25-year friendship displayed from a back-and-forth narrative perspective. And it deals creatively with the tug-and-pull complications of male-female communication. (The central characters have an inability to ever quite say what they really mean or hear what’s really being said.) The book also examines the life-altering impacts of physical and emotional trauma.

Readers should note that there’s quite a bit of foul language and some painful, bloody moments in the story mix. In addition, all of the young adult characters sport a similar casual worldview when it comes to bed-hopping sexual relationships.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow also addresses progressive ideas of identity politics, white privilege, gay marriage, and racial appropriation.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Bob Hoose