Author: Blake Crouch
Publishing Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Broadway Books
This is twice this week that I’ve finished an incredible book, with what felt like a lazy ending. I’ll give Blake credit, though, the novel was a great thriller, and held my attention the entire time!
We start off with meeting Jason Dessen, family man, undergraduate physics proffessor, married to Daniela Dessen, used-to-be artist, and stay at home mom, with a 15-year-old son Charlie Dessen. Before long we realize that the Dessen’s lives have not turned out the way it was “originally” intended. Jason was a brilliant man working on an invention that would usher the world into the ability to explore the multiverse, while Daniela was an aspiring artist who was just beginning to tip-toe into the luxuries of the world of art when Daniela became pregnant with Charlie.
One night when Jason goes to a bar to greet a successful friend with congratulations, he is mysteriously abducted, stolen from, and thrown into a box within which when he wakes up, he finds himself in a new world entirely. New worlds sound wonderful, but not when it means that his wife is not his wife, and his son has never been born. We spend the entire novel journeying with Jason through this new world, and many other worlds as he is dead set on returning to his wife and son. Over time, however, there’s the lingering question of if the world where Daniela and Charlie were his, was ever real. In this new world he’s a renowned scientist who has achieved the unbelievable and is welcomed back with open and excited arms.
This story took me on a heart-wrenching journey that had my heart torn in so many different ways. The message of this novel is so very clearly focused on the importance of family, and valuing the life you have as the results of the decisions you made. We spend most of our lives questioning “what if,” instead of valuing what we have directly in front of us. Crouch grabbed me by my soul and put a mirror to my face and asked “are you happy with your life?” He thrust me into a world where I was forced to face possibilities, and realities I’d always imagined, but could never fully fathom.
If you don’t know, I am engaged, and listening to this novel tore my heart in moments where I had to question… What would I do in Dessen’s shoes? I know, without a doubt, I would fight to get back to my fiance! We may not have a child, nor have we been together as long as Jason and Daniela have been, but the life we’ve built together is beautiful and I would never want to lose him. Daniel, my fiance, is my Daniela, and I would literally, and figuratively search 1000 worlds for him, just as we do alongside Jason.
I rated this novel 4 stars because it gripped my attention from beginning to end, evoked emotion from me that I was not expecting, and is beautifully detailed and well written. All of this being said, however, I could not rate it a five stars because the ending felt cliche, and a bit like a cop out. To avoid spoilers I won’t go into details, but I will make it clear, you will most likely be disappointed with the end, but I doubt you’ll ever be disappointed with the read.