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Is This Tomorrow Paperback – 1 Mar 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (1 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616200545
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616200541
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 912,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Riveting. """""" "Vanity Fair""""An insightful parable about a 'complicated and uncertain era.'" --"The Week""An arresting portrait of bygone America" --"San Francisco Chronicle" [T]aut and resonant mystery. """ Barnes & Noble Review""" Leavitt is a lovely writer and here she tells an absorbing story. """ New York Daily News""Not only is [Leavitt] an incredibly accomplished novelist, she's also a crackerjack human being.""""""" "The Huffington Post""Leavitt has a way of crafting the loveliest novels out of tragedy ... It's her examination of loss, grief, and disappointment that will engross readers.""""""" "Booklist""This tale of domestic suspense builds to a shocking climax and will appeal to anyone immersed in suburban lore.""""" "Library Journal""

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ellalee on 1 Aug 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good read. Reading about racial and religious bias in the 50's was an eye opener.The story is well written and I found myself very involved with the different characters especially Ava. I found the whole story very evocative and was kept guessing what had happened to young Jimmy right to the end.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 145 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Depth Perception 1 Jun 2013
By Eileen Granfors - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why do we read? For love, families, relationships, heartbreak, historical lessons, feeling as if we've been there too? IS THIS TOMORROW by Caroline Leavitt masterfully and powerfully takes us to a world that never was even though it is entrenched in our common mythology.

Ava moves her son, Lewis, to the suburbs in the 1950s. She rents a house in a "perfect" neighborhood to provide him with safety and friends. The neighborhood teems with children. But Ava is immediately an outsider: she's too pretty, she has curves, the husbands dance too closely with her, she has a job outside the home because she is a single DIVORCED parent. There is a reason DANGER and DIVORCE both start with D. Now add that she's (don't say it too loud), um, Jewish.

Her son Lewis is a loner because Ava is his mother, because he's too smart, and his teachers wish he wouldn't ask so many questions. Like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, he and Ava are scolded for his reading too well in the early grades.

Lewis and his mom make friends with the kids, Rose and Jimmy, from across the street. Then one day Jimmy disappears. The neighborhood draws together at first to find the culprit,to destroy the danger. Then they drift apart in hopelessness and change.

But people still look at Ava funny, as if she brought this evil down upon them.

Decades pass. We learn more about the hopes and dreams of Ava, Rose, Lewis. We are led to reconsider how Jimmy disappeared as new clues emerge.

But at the heart of the story, we want to see how and if Ava, Lewis, and Rose can make happiness and peace in an imperfect world called reality. There is no perfect place. Life is a rocky road.

IS THIS TOMORROW revisits the iconic "peaceful" fifties and the turbulent sixties with love and an eye toward truth. Leavitt asks her reader to take off those rose-colored glasses about the "old days" to see what life was like behind the white picket fences. Ozzie and Harriet, the Cleavers, and Father Knows Best stereotyped the American household on television. Leavitt goes beyond pie in the sky to give us a taste of bitter with the sweet.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
you can practically feel the shaggy carpeting 9 May 2013
By Jennifer Duffield - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
There's past tense and future tense, and then there's Leavitt-tense. Leavitt-tense is when the main storyline so seamlessly intertwines with backstory that the reader can't remember how it is they have come to know these characters so deeply. All they know is that they have.

Is This Tomorrow is a mystery with suspense enough. A child goes missing and his community struggles to carry on with no answers as to why or how. Were this story to include only the linear plotline, it would be as gripping. But Leavitt isn't the kind of author who goes for suspense alone. Leavitt's real strength lies in the characters. Flawed, scared and sometimes deceitful, these characters are your brother, your parents, your children, and perhaps even you. This is why Leavitt's plots can never stop at suspenseful and always move on to haunting.

The 1950's setting is pitch-perfect. You can practically feel the uneven shaggy carpeting of Eve's house under your toes and taste the warming nutmeg in her pies. And you can smell the animosity that this Norman Rockwell-type community feels for a divorced Jewish mother who dares to date and has to work. Is This Tomorrow is a gem. And (hopefully) a future film.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
"When someone disappears, what happens to the people who are left behind?" 16 May 2013
By Denise Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was a novel that I read and savored slowly, turning the pages was like peeling back an onion as the story unfolded and the characters developed. It is 1956 and Ava Lark is different. She works outside the home and is the only divorced, Jewish single mother in the quiet Boston suburb where they have moved to start a new life. Lewis, 12 years old, doesn't understand why his father has not come to claim or visit him, but he finds friendship with two other children on the block whose father has died. Jimmy and Rose, along with Lewis, roam free and are constant companions until the day that Jimmy goes missing.

The police and the suspicious neighbors question Ava and search diligently for Jimmy until they finally give up, believing he has run away, been kidnapped, murdered, had an accident...no clues were ever found. Lewis feels guilty because he was supposed to meet Jimmy the day he disappeared and did not show up. Rose moves away with her devastated mom. Ava is marginalized by her connection to the family and because she is so different from the other women in the neighborhood so she's left without friends or solace as her son retreats further from her in his own loneliness and guilt.

Lewis leaves home as he searches for a connection that will restore him to the person he was before Jimmy disappeared and for some sort of absolution. Ava, left on her own again, finds fulfillment in a surprising way.

I thought the tone of this novel was sad and it was touching and beautiful in a way that left me a little bit depressed. Even when the mystery of Jimmy's disappearance is solved, the happy ending I so wanted for them all was not assured.

Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin books for the ebook to review.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Needs to be edited 29 May 2013
By Tess - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A decent read, the author has potential. With some tightening up on errors and flaws it could be a five star novel. A good story line and interesting plot. However, I'm afraid the author doesn't quite reach down deep enough to flesh out real live characters. The voices sound too much alike, there is no distinction. I would have thought this was an early draft of a novel, certainly one without crucial edits, prior to publication. Anachronisms like, "We're not on the same page," and other such lines were not around in 1956. Many of her metaphors come off as juvenile and unbelievable from an adult character. The leading questions from the "teacher" at the end of the book sound like questions for an 8th grade class, they should not be included for the general audience.

I did enjoy the story, but wish there were more finesse in the editing. And the ending? Not satisfying. At the very least ditch the last sentence, it serves no purpose. I read the author's justification for why she leaves her stories hanging, and the fill-in-the-blank, make up your own ending, needs a much stronger character development to be believable for the reader.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Poignant. Engrossing. 10 July 2013
By M. Copeland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Leavitt's book is so poignant I must believe she lived one of the central parts. Her depth of understanding of the characters, her magnetic characters, is the deepest I've ever read. The oh-so real human feelings bared here held me tight while also frightening me--perhaps of what would come next, or maybe my own feelings in similar circumstances. This is a story of people dealing with difficult situations, the innermost workings of pain so touching and real I frequently needed to put it aside to digest. At its end, it proved to be more than a good read for me; at its end I felt washed clean of a layer of my own private pain. Leavitt's book is not a frivolous read; it is a rare and most excellent gift. (Ariel I.)
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