The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Harvest Books (May 27, 2004)
I have been meaning to read this book for the longest time, and finally got around to it. I picked it up yesterday, and finished it today.
There are so many things technically wrong with this book, that after the first several pages I had to take a breath and begin reading again as a reader, not a writer. This is only fair, as I believe Niffenegger wrote it for readers.
She did a remarkable job of weaving a tale by using a quantity of run on sentences, repeating certain phrases throughout, using the same word—sometimes thrice in one sentence—and during one section she got confused on who was the "I" was. That said, I am glad that Niffenegger wrote her book her way, and didn't conform to the rules of purists writers who would probably have confiscated her keyboard had they been looking over her shoulder. Goes to show you, that authors, even first timers, who write their book their way, can be published, if the book is good enough.
I have long wanted to read a book with two different first person points of views. Niffenegger handled this very well. I liked that each section had the date and the ages of Henry and Clare at the start of the section, although the name of the speaker at the beginning of the first paragraph in each section, printed in all caps, was rather distracting. I honestly do not know if I could have followed along without it, but I did feel this was rather akin to dumbing it down for readers. I like to think I could have figured out who was speaking, especially after cracking the code of how the names were arranged in each date line above the sections. Once I got my head wrapped around how the time travel in the Henry-Clare Universe worked, it was easy to follow along with the time leaps.
The plot. What plot? There is no plot. It simply is. There was conflict, but in my mind it was never resolved, it just was.
I love stories about time travel, and while reading The Time Traveler's Wife I simply read, just let the words flow into my brain about the time and being past, present and future, without trying to figure out the hows of it all, I just enjoyed a complicated story line told simply and straightforward.
I will not give you a chapter-by-chapter review of the story; there are dozens on line, just search. I'm a bit disappointed that Ms. Niffenegger's website appears not to have been updated since 2004, I would have liked to read a little of what she would post on her website, whatever that might be.
The story was good, although the characters did not particularly endear themselves to me, and I do not mean that negatively. Everything is not always peaches and cream and happily ever after, so I definitely liked that. (If I read every book for an HEA, I would probably have scratch my eyes out.)
If this sounds like a bad review, it is not. I enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it. Have the foresight to take it as it is and enjoy the story, revel in its radical presentation, and appreciate the fact that Niffenegger kept all those dates and ages consistent (I would like to see the spreadsheet for that!) Suspend your disbelief; mileage may vary.
If I rated by stars or "out ofs," I would probably give it an eight on a one to ten, but I do not. Everything here is strictly my own opinion and I represent no one but myself.
Added: I read that this book was made into a movie with a release date of Dec. 25, 2008.