18 January 2011

Book Review: The Time Traveler's Wife

I've been talking about this book for a couple months now- You can tell I thought it was good because a. I kept bringing it up in other posts and b. I took more than 48 hours to read it. When I think a book is decent but not great I'll usually just read in as short a time as possible to get it out of the way and move on to other, better books. When I find a book I think is going to be wonderful, I savor it. I will want to keep reading, but I will put the book down and wait a couple days so that I can be a part of the imaginary world for longer.

I finally did finish The Time Traveler's Wife over winter vacay while in Mexico. At the time, I was riding a large tour bus through the jungle from Puerto Vallarta to Chacala with about 40 middle aged hippies and my family. I only had about 20 pages to read on the hour long bus ride, but I had to keep stopping after every couple paragraphs to stare out the window and will myself not to cry, because not only was I so touched by the ending, I was devastated that only 20 pages separated me from the end of my relationship with this book.

Do you think I'm a crazy person yet? lol

Anyways, I actually did a very good job and didn't cry at all (although it took me like 45 minutes to read the end), up until the very end, when my sis turned to me and asked if I finished it, and if it was good, and a couple tears leaked out.

And then she had to ask if I was crying, and that just made me burst into tears.

So close.

Anyways, I cleaned myself up and as far as I know no one else on the bus noticed... although I felt like a spotlight was shining right on me :)

Onto the book review, though.

I really did love this book. I saw the movie first, and I loved that, so my opinions are probably biased, but whatever. Most people who read the book first and the saw the movie said that the movie wasn't very good, and didn't hold a candle to the book. Since I saw the movie first and loved it, it just made the book seem even better. I already had a relationship with the characters I was reading about. I already kind of knew what was in store for them. It made all the extra details really stand out.

I will say that this book is probably not for everyone. It is a romantic novel. The plot revolves around one star-crossed but beautiful relationship. There's a little bit of sci-fi thrown in there. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you're better off skipping this one or just watching the movie.

Here's a quick plot synopsis:

Henry DeTamble is a 28 year old Chicago librarian who suffers from a genetic disease which causes him to involuntarily travel through time. Clare Abshire is a 20 years old artist who has known Henry since she was 6 years old, when he first materialized in the meadow where she used to play.
Henry made frequent visits to the meadow up until Clare was 18, but when Clare and Henry meet in Henry's library, it is the first time they have ever been face-to-face in the present moment. Henry has absolutely no idea who Clare is, but Clare has been in love with Henry for many years.

The novel follows their relationship as the two get married, try to have a child, and deal with Henry's unfortunate and unpredictable condition. The novel switches between Henry and Clare's perspectives, and jumps around through time to include all of Henry's journeys to the past and future as well as all the important present moments.

I loved this book because Audrey Niffenegger, the author, did a wonderful job of devolping the two main characters. They both have so much depth, to the point that when I was done with the book I felt like I was losing two close friends. I wanted to keep on living in their story.

My only issue was that I wished for a little bit more in some areas, primarily at the end of the book. The ending felt a tad rushed, and although it did bring tears to my eyes, it left me with unanswered questions. It's one of those endings that leaves a lot to one's imagination, which can often be a very good thing, but can also be frustrating. I usually want to know what the author thinks would happen next instead of making up something on my own. I understand why people elect to use these endings (like the ending to Inception), but I'm usually more satisfied when I know that all loose end have been tied up and I know everything there is to know.

Even so, the ending is still very touching and I still deeply enjoyed this book. If you like romance novels and the concept of time travel (which I really, really, do) then pick this one up. I doubt you will be disappointed.

Next up is Eat, Pray, Love. I've already read quite a bit of it and I really enjoy it. A review will be up in the next couple of months!

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