The mystery of the road not taken

February 8, 2022


The Other MeThe Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like a book with messages and this one delivers many. Everyone has wondered about the road not taken, what would life be like if you had married so-and-so or selected a different college, so the basic premise of Chicago artist Kelly who suddenly finds herself in a different life as small town Michigan wife with a wanna-be graphic design career, spotlights a lot of the what ifs. A man from her past who she could have loved. A better relationship with her parents. But it also gets into real life questions of how we manipulate each other. How mothers may steer daughters toward husbands and homes instead of careers, how men use dinner and gifts to bribe affection and then rely on that affection to build their own self-worth. Is it fair to change someone else’s life to improve your own? Do we actually know what is best for someone else? And as Kelly says she learned in art school: a failure isn’t the end it is the beginning, a lesson, the start of something new.
Technically this book is science fiction because it deals with time travel. I am not usually into science fiction but this one plays out more like a mystery because Kelly is trying to solve the mystery of how she has suddenly been pulled out of one life and into another. But as a mystery thriller fan I expect a lot of action. For me the first 90 percent of this book plods along, as Kelly goes along with her new life not making waves in case someone will say she is crazy, slowly unraveling rumors of some new AI ap at the local tech company, Gnii; overheard phone conversations, a mysterious thumb drive.
The climax is plenty exciting and fast-paced. When you think about it, however, a story about time travel is guaranteed to be happily ever after because if you don’t like the ending you just go back in time to fix it.

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