A teenage girl runs through a cornfield toward an ancient tree, and golly gee whiz, finds it has a door with a doorknob. And natch, she enters. Well, wouldn’t you? I would.
The door closes behind her, leaving her in pitch darkness, but she finds by feel some sort of wheel, and by dint of hard labor, manages to turn it, and the door opens. Whew. THAT was scary. But wait. We were a little too premature with our ‘whew’, because she steps out into another version of her world. Her town, but not quite her town.
Her mother died when she was little, her father has now remarried a very nice woman with the improbably name of Willow. [See what happens when you name your offspring cutesy trendy-ish names? They end up as grownups with stupid names like Willow.] Willow, unfortunately, has a real nasty b*tch of a teen daughter, who hates our protagonist, Ruby.
After a sojourn in the new version, she goes back into the tree and steps out again, to find herself in yet another version, one in which she finds her mother, still alive. Mom hadn’t died in that car accident after all. She toys with the idea that by going to different versions of her world and life, she could come up with the perfect version, minus the nasty step sister and plus her loving mother. But this leaves unanswered the question of what happens to the Ruby in the alternate world whom she replaces? Where does that Ruby go? And what about the version of Ruby in her actual life? What happens to her when she goes swanning off into some different reality? You know, this quantum physics stuff is not all that easy. Ya gotta think about unintended consequences.
So basically, the book examines the notion of infinite parallel universes, and infinite versions of our life events. And the tag line on the book is what would you give up for the perfect life? Yeah. What WOULD you give up for the perfect life? And would it end up being perfect after all, if you had to sacrifice something from your other life(s) to get it? These parallel universes don’t work like a Chinese menu, you know. One from Column A and two from Column B. You have to buy the complete package.
It was an enjoyable book, and leaves the reader with the idea niggling away at the back of the brain that if one is not satisfied with one’s current life, one doesn’t need a quantum physics tree to transport one to a new life. One could just make some changes in the life one has. But that would seriously spoil the book, now, wouldn’t it. A quantum physics tree is every so much more interesting.