Friday, 1 May 2015

Jason Ayres


My Tomorrow Your Yesterday


Sometimes I buy and review a book just because it's one I want to read for pleasure, and My Tomorrow Your Yesterday was one such book.

It wasn't the cover that pulled me in on this occasion, it was the strong blurb. The first sentence tells us about the protagonist, he's 54 and he's about to die. The second sentence tells us 'the next day, he woke up'. If that doesn't pull in time travel-loving readers nothing will!

The cover is strong. The back to front calendar and a lone man staring up at it in confusion completely matched the blurb.

The title also summed up the story, so all in all, blurb, title and cover all corresponded nicely together.

Look inside began with the Epilogue with the title Death and introduced the protagonist Thomas Scott. He’s in hospital, confused and obviously dying. There is a woman sitting by his bedside and she says, ‘Happy New Year Dad.’ Then he dies.

The next chapter is labelled Cancer, and Thomas wakes feeling well enough to watch TV. A news broadcast tells him ‘preparations are underway for tonight’s New Year celebrations’ and so, remembering the woman’s ‘Happy New Year’ words from yesterday is confusing for the protagonist. 

It's a strong opening.

During the story we are taken, alongside the lead character, on a journey to slowly realise we’re going backwards in life. Each day runs forwards, but in the early hours of the morning we’re pinged back to the start of the day before.

So as Thomas slowly starts to ‘get better’ from cancer he realises he can make changes so he never gets the illness in the first place by not smoking and eating healthy, although he wakes up every day with nicotine withdrawal symptoms until he hits the point where he first began smoking and simply doesn’t begin. Here, I wonder why he went through the pain of the withdrawal when, by not starting to smoke, it’d never happen anyway?

Thomas doesn’t remember his life so the people coming and going are new to him ie his daughter, but the connection between him and his family is strong and touching.

The author takes Thomas through a sticky patch where he seeks out prostitutes and has a girlfriend almost thirty years his junior, which I found distasteful, but Thomas is obviously a lonely middle-aged man. There is evidence of a wife, killed by a drunk driver, and as Thomas is pulled backwards through time he plans to save her and maybe change his sad future.

The author doesn’t take us through every single day of Thomas’ backwards life but in significant periods where the character makes changes to alter his future. We’re not told why any of this has happened but that only adds to the mystery and appeal of this book.

And when Thomas relives his own birth it 'resets' time and he begins life going the correct way but we're not told if he remembers anything of his other topsy-turvy life or even he’s destined to yo-yo for eternity.

All in all this is a fantastic story for time-travel lovers. So unique and quirky, and worthy of a 5/5. It’s British so expect Britishisms.

I didn’t find any errors in the book.

When 54 year old Thomas Scott wakes up in a hospital bed on New Year’s Day he has no memory of who he is or why he is there. Racked with pain from a terminal illness, death swiftly follows.

The next day he awakes to find himself alive again and confused, especially when he discovers that it is now New Year’s Eve. As the days pass he begins to realise that he is living his life backwards one day at a time.

So begins the extraordinary tale of a man who goes to sleep on Sunday nights and wakes up on Saturday mornings: A man who cannot form a meaningful relationship with a woman because when he jumps back to the previous day, she has no memory of him. And a man who can win a fortune from gambling any time he likes, but has only one day to spend it.

Trying to find some purpose in life he resolves to find out as much about his own personal history as he can. Learning of the death of his wife and an attack on his daughter, he prepares to make changes in the past to secure their future.

From middle-aged father all the way back to childhood, the passing years present all manner of different challenges as he grows ever more youthful.

Set in and around Oxford between the years of 1970 and 2025, this unique concept for a time travel novel features plenty of humour, nostalgia and “what if?” moments.

Taking place in the same universe as the author's Time Bubble series, this is a standalone novel aimed at a more adult audience. It can be enjoyed without the need to have read those earlier books.