Chloe's Reviews > Replay

Replay by Ken Grimwood
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's review
May 28, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: scifi-fantasy
Recommended to Chloe by: Seth Ball
Recommended for: Anyone who has ever wanted a do-over
Read in June, 2009

Replay is a book that had been lingering on my to-read stack for well-nigh three years before I finally got up the gumption to actually crack the cover. Once again I find myself a victim of the too-many-books-too-little-time syndrome which seems to plague all of us various Goodreaders and am kicking myself for waiting so long before reading this eminently enjoyable time travel romp.

I think that one of the reasons I avoided reading this for so long is that it is saddled under the unfortunate umbrella of time travel fiction. Often this means a lot of obtuse descriptions of quantum mechanics and the paradoxes of accidentally meeting yourself in the past; Time Travel 101, if you will. Fortunately, Grimwood plays upon the well-worn theme with a unique twist.

Rather than jumping in a machine and galivanting into the future to romp with the Eloi, Grimwood has his hero Jeff die one chill October evening in 1988. Yet, instead of pearly gates and St. Peter, Jeff awakens to find himself in his college dorm in 1963 with full knowledge of the future to come, from the fall of Saigon to the horse that will win the Kentucky Derby. With this premise Grimwood has tapped into one of the most fundamental wishes of humankind: the desire to do things differently now that you know how it will play out.

It's thrilling to watch as Jeff relives his life, testing out various professions or challenges, finally having the children that he longed for in his first life, attempting to stop the Kennedy Assassination, investing in Apple when Jobs and Wozniak were still tinkering in their garage, reveling in the reckless hedonism of early 60s Paris. As he plays through each iteration, though, Jeff realizes what a lonely existence he lives as the only one who seems to realize that everything that happens has already happened before, until he sees a film that he had never heard of before and stumbles across a woman who is also trapped in a historic loop.

This was an incredibly fun read that I never wanted to put down. Jeff isn't perfect, which makes him more fun. He wastes several of his lives and inadvertantly ends up with much blood on his hands when he tries to alter the course of history, but it is this that makes him relatable. He may be forewarned, but that does not always equate to being forearmed and I would often find myself agreeing with several well-intentioned decisions he makes that inevitably blow up in his face. From a fantastic premise through a great follow-through, Ken Grimwood has crafted a story that will stand the test of time, even if it's on repeat.
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Reading Progress

06/16 page 167
01/07 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Chloe I've had it sitting on my shelf to read for years now. I've just heard so much good about it lately that I felt compelled to pick it up.

message 2: by Mandy (new) - added it

Mandy Can't wait to see what you think, Logan. It's on my shelf and you may just bump it up my to read pile.

Sherry Logan, how are you liking this?

Chloe I am really loving this book, Sherry. I'm so glad that I listen to Seth's recommendations, he really has yet to steer me wrong. This is a fantastic time travel story, which is a niche of scifi that I've never really been enamored with.

message 5: by Lori (new) - added it

Lori I keep seeing it and never buying it.
Maybe I will have to pick it up......

Sherry Wow! 5 Stars... This just moved to the top of the must buy now list.

message 7: by Lori (new)

Lori Whoa! Whoa! For a book I never heard of this has now jumped up to the top of my to-read list, I'm immediately heading to my libes site to place a hold on it. Another reason I love GR.

Chloe I think you'll enjoy it immensely, Lori!

Lisa Vegan I loved this book. I loved Time and Again even more. They're both terrific.

Robert Best German film follow-up: Run, Lola, Run (or Lola Rentt, in German, I think). This book has gone on my to-get list, where it will live with a bazillion other titles.

message 11: by Lori (new) - added it

Lori Seth -- what about the Xfiles episode where Mulder keeps reliving the bank robbery? That would work too, no?

message 12: by Lori (new) - added it

Lori Seth.... NEW to the Xfiles? Really? I heart Mulder!
I almost cryed when that show went off the air!

message 13: by Lori (new) - added it

Lori Wait, why starting at season 4?

The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) Argh, another one for Mt. TBR.

Great review, Logan. I can only find it for over £7 (inc. p&p). Is it worth the price?

Chloe Hmmm... I'm unsure about that one, Boof. I enjoyed the $7 I spent on it, though I know that is in no way an approximate denomination. I'd have bought it new, knowing what I know now...

message 16: by Jaime (new) - added it

Jaime I read your review for this yesterday and then last night at B&N I saw it on the buy 2 get 1 free table...I didnt see 2 other books on the table that I wanted and I am kind of low on the funds right now but I will probably be picking this up sometime soon.

Kelly H. (Maybedog) This sounds fabulous. I loved the Man Who Folded Himself and Run Lola Run so I'm definitely going to check this out.

I heart Scully AND Mulder

Robert Mully and Sculder are two halves of the same's why they need each other.

message 19: by Lori (new) - added it

Lori Mully and Sculder? say who?

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