The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife is yet another book I managed to snag at the Copley Library book sale a few weeks ago for only $1. My roommate had recommended it to me so when I saw it, I grabbed it. I had also been interested in the movie when it came out, but never ended up seeing it, and then eventually decided it would be a good idea to read the book first (once I realized that there was actually a book).

It’s the story of Henry and Clare, who meet when Clare is six and Henry is thirty-six—and get married when Clare is twenty-two and Henry is thirty. Henry has a unique genetic disorder that causes him to involuntarily time-travel, sometimes into his future, but more often into his past. Throughout these often-traumatic events, it is Clare’s love that sustains Henry…just as Henry’s love sustains Clare as she waits for him to return to the present.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is told in first person, alternating between Henry’s and Clare’s perspectives. It’s really interesting to watch as she tries, as a young girl, to get him to tell her things about their future—and then to see from his perspective as he restrains himself. I really liked that you get both perspectives, because from the title, you might only expect to get Clare’s point of view. It’s clear the love they have for each other is very intense and consuming, but also exhausting, and even painful at times. Unfortunately, as the book goes on, these painful times increase drastically.

My only real issue with this book is this: I don’t like reading sad things. I refuse to watch “inspirational” movies or most dramas because most of them drag you through the dirt before rewarding you with anything nice. Or maybe they give you something nice and then the end just stomps on your heart. As a consumer of media, I like to be entertained—which, in my case, does not involve crying (unless it’s because I’m laughing too hard) or being depressed. The book was good, sure. But it was just too darn depressing for me, especially near the end.

I’m also very far removed from my romance novels phase, and like I mentioned when I wrote about Atonement, I wasn’t exactly planning to get back into them. Totally burned myself out on way too much V. C. Andrews, and now I just find romance novels horribly cliché. On the bright side, The Time Traveler’s Wife was not as cliché as most, and I did genuinely enjoy the story. I really admire the time it must have taken to work out all those time-traveling scenarios. There’s no way in a million years that I would ever be able to write anything like that—it was hard enough for me just to wrap my head around it while reading.

So basically, I’m glad I read it, and I would be interested to see the movie (depending on whether or not it’s as sad as the book). I would recommend it to those who enjoy somewhat sappy—okay, really sappy—romance novels, but as for me, I think I’ll stick to my thrillers, thank you very much.


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2 thoughts on “The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

  1. This actually is one of my favorite books. Definitely one that makes me cry. Yes, it is a very sad book. Maybe I’m a schmuck, but I’ve read this one twice (and seen the movie, but of course, the book was better) and it just hits me so hard: Love the people in your life. Both times I came away with a renewed resolve to love better and deeper and intentionally because every minute counts. (Okay, yes, definitely a schmuck here.)

    One thing that I liked was how the author made it all seem realistic and not fantastical even though logic tells the reader that all that time traveling is impossible.

    • Yeah, I do think it was written pretty realistically…even though it’s clearly not realistic at all. It was one of my roommate’s favorites too, which is why I tried hard to like it, but it’s just not my type of book, really. I’m glad you like it, though, and that it makes you resolve to love the people in your life, because that’s what life is all about, right? 🙂

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