Imagine running into your younger self on the street. Your living, breathing, hungover, twenty something-year-old self, walking on the sidewalk, living your (or her?) life.
This is the premise of Debra Jo Immergut's newest novel, You Again. Forty-six-year-old protagonist Abigail Willard, a promising artist-turned art director for a prescription drug company, is riding home in the back of a cab one evening, when she spots her 22-year-old self walking down the street with her drug addicted ex-boyfriend. Unable to believe her eyes, Abigail gets out of the car to get a closer look, watching the young woman, in an all too familiar pink coat and silver platform shoes, walk away.
Abigail spends the following weeks running into, and eventually seeking out, her younger self at her old stomping grounds: the used bookstore where she used to spend her lunch hour during her first "real" job, a particular bench in the park, an old dive bar, all while the family she has created with her husband and two teenage sons begins to fall apart. She begins to wonder why she's experiencing these hallucinations, this presence of herself. Should she warn herself against settling for corporate life, against giving up her artistic talents? Should she try to fix her past mistakes?
I'm not going to give too much else away, because there are lots of twists and turns in this fun thriller. Immergut examines how the passage of time and the fear of regret plagues most adults who enter the modern workforce. What if I make it to 50 and find myself miserable? What if I waste my adulthood in an unfulfilling job? These are certainly questions I find myself considering often, and You Again brings them into sharp focus.
I LOVE a psychological thriller, and You Again was a fun one to listen to, a good escape from the dumpster fire (literally) in Portland right now. I'd love to know your thoughts on this book if you've read it, and any other escapist books you're loving right now!
*Cover image from Ravishly.