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‘Maybe Next Time’ book review: Wonderful is an understatement

‘Maybe Next Time’ book review: Wonderful is an understatement

In ‘Maybe Next Time’ by novelist and screenwriter Cesca Major, we meet Emma Jacobs. She is a literary agent. She loves her job which is basically reading books and discovering new authors. She has a loving husband, Dan, and two wonderful children, Poppy and Miles. But she’s always rushed—her phone pings all the time, she has meetings to attend, and books to get published. She loves her family but she, like most of us, has unknowingly placed them at the bottom of her priority list. She and Dan had a deal, which was to write a letter to each other on their anniversary. Emma always forgets. She has, even though she will never admit it, taken her family for granted.

Then one day everything changes and her family and life will never be the same again. But she finds herself stuck in a time loop. The same day keeps repeating itself but the outcome is unchanged. If she can fix her mistakes, will she be able to rewrite the future? The metaphysical aspect of the story makes you contemplate life and how you are living it. As Emma tries to do things differently to change the course of her life, she starts noticing how focusing on unnecessary things was complicating her life for no reason. Knowing what she knows about how the day will end, she is forced to slow down and take pleasure in all the little things, and value those she loves.

I have a shelf dedicated to my favorite books. It has books like ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl, ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman, ‘Circe’ by Madeline Miller, and ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens among several others. These are books that I will recommend to everyone I meet, think about with love and longing, and absolutely refuse to lend when someone invariably asks for them. I don’t want to part with them. Not now. Not ever.

Maybe Next Time went right on this shelf after I finished it. Come to think about it, it could easily be in my top five all-time favorites. I must admit I didn’t like the cover art. Plus it was a love story and I’m not much into that genre. However, it was a Reese’s Book Club pick and I tend to like books that the club chooses. So, despite the glaring orange title on a light yellow and blue backdrop (all clashing horribly), I got the book. As shallow as it sounds, I believe these things matter. I’ve often not bought books I’ve been wanting to read because it didn’t feel right—something about the pages or the cover would be off.

But this time I’m glad I didn’t because Maybe Next Time is so good. The writing is smooth and you breeze through the story. The storyline keeps you hooked. You are always wondering what Emma will do next. It makes you think about life and, as cliché as it sounds, teaches you the value of the present moment. Nothing but the present is guaranteed, and the book, for me, hammered in that point like no other story has ever done. The movie adaptation is in the works and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I’m sure it will be a tearjerker though, just like the book.

Four and a half stars

Fiction

Maybe Next Time

Cesca Major

Published: 2023

Publisher: Harper Collins

Pages: 376, Paperback

 

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