Occasionally throughout the book there appear spots at the top right (or bottom left depending on how you’re holding the book) of the page. There are 20 spots in total in 6 different styles. Why? I’ve listed all of the occurrences and styles in the table below.

Page Color Page Color
H67 Black with green border S67 Black with black border
H71 Black with green border S71 Black with black border
H139 Black with green border S139 Black with black border
H143 Black with green border S143 Purple with gold border
H211 Black with green border S211 Black with gold border
H215 Black with green border S215 Black with gold border
H283 Black with green border S283 Black with gold border
H287 Black with green border S287 Black with gold border
H355 Black with green border S355 Black with gold border
H359 II with green border S359 II with gold border

The dots come in pairs, with 68 pages between each pair, or 72 pages between each iteration. I found many theories for the locations of the dots (links below), but none for the colors. Why are all of the dots on Hailey’s side the same while the ones on Sam’s side are different? It’s important to look at why they are there first.

If you are reading the book 8 pages at a time, then every 9 rotations there is a set of dots. One theory is that these dots represent the “cigarette burns” used in old movie reels to tell the attendant to change the reels. This couples nicely with the fact that around these points are when the major changes in the narrative happen. Another theory is that each section between the dots represents another phase of Hailey and Sam’s life (e.g. child, teen, young adult, adult, elderly).

Following the narratives chronologically (reading all the way through Hailey’s narrative and then Sam’s), we get black dots with a green border until the end of Hailey, where we get the pause-like symbol with a green border. We can interpret this as Hailey’s life being a void that is only contained by Sam (who is represented by the color green), and that then she puts her life on pause with him just before she ends. And then in Sam’s narrative, Hailey has just passed so all of his life is dark, hence the black dot with the black border; until page 143 where we see a purple dot with a gold border. Why? This is what has been bugging me the most. Why is here the turning point? At this point in the novel the car breaks down and Hailey and Sam have to adjust to a new pace in life; they get settle down and get jobs. I see this as them finally becoming more mature, and soon after their infatuation and lust for each other turns into more genuine love. This odd dot represents their love. After this point we’re back to black dots, but now with gold borders: Sam is a void held together only by Hailey.

But if this analysis is true, why do the dots only change for Sam and not Hailey? Maybe it is because Sam comes after Hailey, so he hasn’t arrived in her part. She is just held together by the idea of him. I’m not really sure. The more I look at this, the more confused I get. I’ve explored one possibility for the colored dots, but I’m not sure I’ve convinced myself of it. I feel like there has to be a deeper meaning, but I’ve only started to scratch the surface of it.

Sometimes this is what reading this book feels like.