Thursday, February 06, 2014

The Future of Us

A girl (Emma) in 1996 gets a new computer. Josh, her next-door neighbor friend brings over an AOL CD and they go on the internet. However, instead of the AOL of that day, they end up seeing her facebook page - 15 years in the future. Every small thing they do can impact their future.

In spite of all the changes she makes, Emma still finds herself in rotten relationships in the future. She attempts to "change" her life to avoid one loser husband or situation, but then simply ends up with another one that is bad in a different way.

Josh, on the other hand, is shown to be married to one of the super-hot girls at school who was thought to be way out of his league. His changes seem to change some of the details of their life together (number of kids, vacation spots, etc.) However, they seem to remain together. With this knowledge in the background, he actually speaks up to defend her in one of their classes. This leads to them actually going out together.

I was hoping that Josh would actually stay with his "future bride". It would make a great story of a boy overcoming his feelings of inferiority to reach his dream situation. The prodding of the future event helps him to accomplish what he may have otherwise thought was impossible.

However, this is a teen book, more likely targeted towards the female audience. So, Josh has to end up with Emma at the end. Sigh. Sappy and not quite as interesting. However, this doesn't happen until the very end. Skip the last chapter and you can picture this better type of ending.

The ending we get is Emma realizing that she must live in the day, rather than trying to needlessly try to optimize some imagined future. The depressed her of the future eventually exits facebook altogether, leaving the her of the present to go on with her life. Some of their friends bring Josh and Emma together to have fun. They realize that they are really meant for each other. (The end of their "relationship" 6 months ago was a mistake. They have had the friendship thing down since grade school. The relationship thing will work out with some more work.)

The concept reminds me of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. If you know a little about the future, that may give you the strength to do what you need to do to make it happen. The book also did a nice job of capturing the spirit of the mid 90s and contrasting that with today. It was a fun read, in spite of the sappy ending.

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