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The Versions of Us is a kind of Sliding Doors-ish story about two Cambridge college students, Eva and Jim, who meet by chance at nineteen and then their lives continue three separate ways from that meeting.  In different stories they fall madly in love, or kiss and then separate, or nothing, and marry, or split up after a few weeks, or find each other again late in life and the narratives intertwine around central, unchangeable events and people throughout their lifetimes.  It sounds like a familiar trope, but the details are wildly inventive and it is a really fun and unique read.

 

It’s really impossible to read this book without constantly thinking “What if…” about your own life, a destructive pastime I am legitimately trying to curb in my daily existence.  I’m also a big fan of the multiverse concept because it’s the only explanation for how boring my life is – because bizarro me is really tearing it up in another dimension.   I’m 100% sure that the last take away Laura Barnett meant to put out there was that it really doesn’t matter what path you choose, because the reality is that all relationships are eventually terrible, but she probably didn’t have my special gift for destroying hope in all situations in mind.  This is a debut novel for Barnett, and it’s definitely worth the read though a bit confusing at times.  Once you get your head around which story you are on, it gets much easier but it would help to read large chunks of it at a time.

 

Grade – B