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.Read more...
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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-10-27
- Reviewer: Staff
Goldhagen’s smart but unfulfilling debut novel traces the lives of four people from high school to their mid-30s as they struggle to find their places in the world. In 1992, Adam, Sharon, Phoebe, and Ollie are all in very different places, emotionally and geographically, when the film adaptation of the comic book Eons & Empires opens in movie theaters. As they gravitate in and out of each other’s orbits, this clunky motif connects them. A-student Adam leaves behind smalltown Florida in search of success as an actor; quiet, Midwestern Sharon struggles to adjust to big-city living as a writer in New York City; Phoebe turns her back on Chicago and her boyfriend, Ollie, and crosses paths with Adam in her pursuit of acting gigs in L.A. Each character’s individual story is compelling, though their pursuit of meaning in their never-satisfied lives, while witty and heartfelt, never comes together. (Jan.)
Pop culture and ties that bind
The stories we consume in youth—whether through books, television, film or song—often become the defining narrative of our lives. A shared affection draws people together, and a mention of a character or a trace of a lyric can immediately transport us to another place and time.
Throughout In Some Other World, Maybe, the driving force is the 1992 movie adaptation of the comic books Eons & Empires. Adam is dead set on getting out of his small Florida hometown, and seeing the movie with a longtime crush is one of the last memories he’ll make there. In Cincinnati, Sharon skips school so she can see the film alone—twice. Phoebe and Ollie make a trip to their suburban Chicago movie theater on their first date, and all of their friends join in. Each trip is, on the surface, a typical high school vignette.
But in the two decades that follow, Eons & Empires remains a benchmark for Adam, Sharon and Phoebe—and it becomes the tie that draws them together.
With the numerous ways the characters’ stories interact and nearly intersect, the story could have easily turned hokey. But in Shari Goldhagen’s skilled narrative, these twists reveal themselves naturally in a sort of fictional six degrees of separation.
Much history occurs during the course of In Some Other World, Maybe—with international news events cluing the reader in to how time has progressed—but the outside world isn’t really the point. As the characters grow from teenagers to confused college-age kids to more established adults, Eons & Empires serves as a touchstone for each. The result is a compelling tale that leaves readers pondering what is and, had life taken another direction, what could have been.