STARRED REVIEW
January 2015

Pop culture and ties that bind

By Shari Goldhagen
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.
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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.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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In Some Other World, Maybe

In Some Other World, Maybe

By Shari Goldhagen
St. Martin's
ISBN 9781250047991

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