Make that decision and, in this book, the adventure begins. Actually, I should say adventures. There are literally thousands (3,856) of adventures in this interactive book that the reader becomes completely immersed in them.
I chose vanilla ice cream and my adventure there was short and sweet. I went back and chose chocolate and that decision led me to more and more decisions. My next decision was which one of Professor K’s inventions did I want to play with: the time machine, the memory helmet or the killotron?
Each decision had numerous and complicated consequences. Some of the consequences are disastrous, like annihilating all human life. There is ultimately a good path to follow but the reader has to pay close attention. There are also codes you have to remember to get to the “top secret” pages.
As you can see from the pictures above, it’s necessary to follow the tubes that guide the reader’s progress from picture to picture. And they seldom move from left to right. The tubes will also lead to tabs at the side of the page. That means you have to go to another page which will not usually be the next one.
As you can tell Meanwhile was a totally absorbing book. It was not a quick read at all. It had the feel of a video game or one of those complex logic puzzles. I read an interview with the author who said . . .
“I try and set up all of my books like interlocking puzzles. There’s typically a central puzzle with little puzzles shooting off of it. I realize it’s a weird way of constructing narrative, but it’s what I’m most natural at.”
The author’s approach worked for me. I’ve spent hours going back and forth and up and down in this book. It was a great stress reliever. It is appropriate for all ages. I think it would be a great intergenerational book for, say, grandparents and their grandkids.
I first discovered Meanwhile on a NY Times list of Best Graphic Novels of 2010. I was happy when I saw that our local library had a copy. It’s also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)
Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities by Jason Shiga is publisher by Abrams Books (Amulet imprint), 2010