Book review: “In Five Years” by Rebecca Serle Where do you see yourself in five years?

April Federico, Herald Contributor

A 25-year-old woman named Dannie Kohan wakes up to her totally normal life, that would also be totally envious for aspiring lawyers. Kohan may seem like one of those ostensibly perfect women in 2020 from New York City, acing her interview at a top law firm in New York, if not the country. She gives the most perfect interview answers, including the answer to the infamous, “where do you see yourself in five years?” to which Dannie responds that she is married to her boyfriend of two years and living in their dream neighborhood in New York.

After her interview, she knows she’s going to get engaged, so she picks out that popping red jumpsuit that screams, “propose!” Sure enough, at dinner, her boyfriend David pops the question with what seems like a paparazzi montage in the background. When they go back to their apartment to pop open an additional bottle of wine for the celebration of their engagement, Dannie falls asleep as David is massaging her foot; a wine-induced slumber, perhaps. But how is it possible that she dreamt a rather vivid dream of herself and the newly introduced Aaron Greggory, living together and having “the best sex of her life?” This is how detailed and finite Rebecca Serle’s “In Five Years” is written. So detailed that Serle mentions the fact that Dannie lives her life by the numbers — very finite, indeed.

Who knew that five years later, in 2025, she wouldn’t be married to David, but would meet her best friend Bella’s new Bumble boyfriend, Greg (you’ll have to read to find out who he really is —the devil is in the details, after all). Bear in mind that Dannie never told anybody about the dream she had the night of her engagement. Moreover, when meeting this “Greg” and Bella at dinner alongside David, Dannie realizes she is sitting across from the man who gave her the best sex of her life in a dream she had five years ago.

This book is hard to put down. I have not been incapable of putting down a book since I read “Twilight” or “The Tale of Despereaux” in my younger years. This book has everything I was taught in fiction classes as a creative writing major. I would never, however, be able to pull off such genius storytelling and perfect consistency in tense. There is no doubt that Serle’s Masters in Fine Arts at The New School taught her what she needed to know to write this exceptional tale. It almost makes the reader question the following: Where will I be in five years? Could that change? This book proves that things really do manifest in the world in the most unexpected ways, and that life has its own twists and turns.