Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

genre: adult fiction

I will give a short synopsis, in case you have been living under a rock and don't know what this book is about.

Henry has a serious problem: he time travels.  He doesn't get to choose WHEN he time travels, or where he travels TO.  Or, frankly, when he gets to come back to the present.  So his life is a constant series of jumps in time in which he is able to interact with people (including himself) in both the past and near future.

Clare's biggest problem is that she loves Henry and Henry loves her back.  Normally that would be just a beautiful thing, except, it's really hard to have a relationship with someone when they are constantly in and out of your life (in Clare's case, since she was a little girl).

And that, my friends, is the crux of this story.  It is a love story, a character study, a trippy look at two lives that are lived all over the chronological map.  I went into it with an open mind and ended up being really engrossed by the story.  It's hard to not have compassion for Henry, even when he's being an idiot - because time traveling isn't the only piece of his life that is tricky.  I liked the fleshed-out look at his younger life that we get snippets of. 

I liked, especially, the relationship between Clare and Henry, particularly as they got older and had to be grownups together and wanted things they couldn't have and had to work through it.  I believed their strengths and weaknesses as a couple. Sometimes their bedroom lives felt a little too satisfying to be believed, and those moments were a little annoying.  Not annoying that this couple that's in love is having sex, it's just how awesome and amazing and constant it is - even at one point it's acknowledged by the characters but then things just move on.  That one piece made it feel a bit too romancenovelesqe for my taste.

If you can let that piece go (which, obviously, I chose to and really still enjoyed the book) then this is a surprisingly beautiful story about relationships and what we do for the people we love.  The plot itself swept me a long and even those times when my brain was trying to piece together exactly where in time I was and what else was happening didn't dissuade me from reading it in a day. I'm not sure why I wasn't quite as emotionally invested as my several friends that have told me about their reading experience, but I did still have tears at the end.  Regardless, I'm glad I finally picked it up.

note: if you're interested in the content of the books I read, please go to


bermudaonion said...

I really enjoyed the movie version of this so I bought the book right after I saw it. Of course, I haven't read the book yet. :/

alisonwonderland said...

Awesome book and awesome movie adaptation!

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