Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Future of Us: An Ingenious & Thought Provoking Read

The year is 1996, and when Josh gives his best friend Emma an AOL disc to use with her new computer, they are excited to try the internet for the first time. As soon as they log on, a Facebook page from 2011 appears, giving them a glimpse into their future. Unfortunately, our lives don't always turn out the we expect them, and Emma quickly starts trying to alter her future. But as both Emma and Josh will learn, it's the choices they make today that determine whether or not they are happy tomorrow.

At some point in our teenage lives, most of us probably had a vision of where we thought we'd be at 30ish. Perhaps you imagined being married to your high school boyfriend/girlfriend, having your dream job, kids and money. (Or some portion of these) Now imagine being handed a crystal ball and discovering that not only don't you have those things, but you are desperately unhappy. What would you do to change it? In Emma's case, she does the most logical thing she can think of- searches for information and tries to make a change at the beginning of the chain. Unfortunately, she doesn't account for the Butterfly Effect, and every tweak she makes not only changes her own future, but other people's as well.

I love this concept, and the combination of Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler really make it work. Told in alternating perspectives between Emma and Josh, the things they see in their futures are extremely revealing, and it's these glimpses that show them what's truly important. Emma and Josh were best friends until a couple of months prior to the beginning of the story, but a misjudgement of Emma's feelings for him led to a terrible miscue, and has made things awkward between them. Josh is embarrassed, Emma is confused, and neither is quite sure what to do next. I found it especially interesting that each time Emma checks into her future she's checking to see whether Josh is still part of her life.

The book also raises an interesting philisophical arguement about how knowing your future affects the decisions you make in your present. In Emma and Josh's case, the answer is yes. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? You'll have to read the book and decide that for yourself. At sixteen or seventeen, I'm sure I would have thought differently than I do now. The positive thing for Emma and Josh about their temporary Crystal Ball is that it forces them to think about where they are and what they want in their presents.

In the end, the real message of this book is that expending a lot of energy worrying about our futures is less important than finding a way to be happy in the now. If we can do that, the future will sort itself out.