:: author:Audrey Niffenegger:: published: 2013 :: my rating: 2/5 :: genre: novel :: romance novel :: speculative fiction :: goodreads
Hello my lovely friends,
It’s been a while since I’ve done my last book review, but then again, I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind called life. As you all know, the last book I was currently reading was The Time Traveler’s Wife. Though I finished it a month ago, I’m shamefully uploading the review now. I have to say, I needed time to mull over the book, and was hoping to actually watch the movie, to maybe see what the craze was about. Well here goes!
Synopsis from goodreads:
Audrey Niffenegger’s dazzling debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry’s unconventional love story. That their attempt to live normal lives together is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control makes their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
My Review (no spoilers):
Honestly, I was expecting a lot more from this book, especially because it is a well known title, and has brought raving reviews from some. The premise of the book is interesting, and I must say that the idea behind the plot is great. A love that surpasses all time? Great, but I felt this book didn’t really develop that idea. I found that this book was hard to get through, not emotionally engaging, and doomed from the start.
Although this book jumps back and forth in time, the characters voices are the same throughout their entire lives. It seems as if Clare is always scared, always waiting for a man who is never there during her critical moments. Henry is constantly complaining about his predicament, and the author never fails to remind the audience of the hardship this couple endures due to his tendency to appear in a different time period, naked. Although Niffenegger attempts to paint a passionate love story between the two, it was overshadowed by Clare’s constant need for Henry, and their constant attempts to keep his time traveling a secret. Niffenegger’s mode of illustrating the passion between Henry and Clare is through sex, and it is difficult to grasp their intimacy when every tender moment must be through this act.
Furthermore, both the characters have lives that are extremely difficult to relate to, as both are brought up in familial situations that are far from ordinary. The characters were also obsessed with bands and artists, which is fine, but the constant mention of band names and artists was distracting, and seemed like a pathetic attempt for the author to try and show her hipster side.
“I won’t ever leave you, even though you’re always leaving me.”
What angered me the most was Clare, and her willingness to wait, and save herself for a man that is a womanizer and drug addict. I believe that quote in and of itself shows how willing Clare was to throw away her life and wait for the only man she ever had in her life. Because Henry tells her that they will be married some day, she finds herself waiting, and waiting and waiting for a man that ultimately can’t be there for her in the end. I found this draining, and the unrealistic expectation on her hand was disappointing.
The characters in this book made it difficult for me to engage in the plot and enjoy the book. Because I was unable to relate, or understand both characters, their actions that made up the plot, often seemed silly and boring. I felt as if lots of needless sub plots were added throughout this book that did not particularly add to the book, but made it treacherously long. Often, the subplots seemed unresolved.
This book had potential, and I believe would have been greatly improved if all the characters were given more chances to develop and grow. The premise of the book was exciting, and I was definitely intrigued, only to find myself repulsed by their love story, and the lack of closure and conflict. The end did semi redeem itself, though I do believe even that could have been executed in a better manner.
Although the book overall, was not to my taste at all, there are some quotes that I did love.
“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”
I feel as if every moment in your life should be filled with intense happiness, and that mediocrity is silly. However, to be extremely happy for a short while, and live in fear and sadness for the rest, also does not seem like a healthy alternative.
“Everything seems simple until you think about it.”
Now isn’t that the truth. This quote is short, and a tad humorous, as we tend to overthink and thoughts become convoluted in our brains.
Not a favorite, and will not be reading again soon. This book was incredibly difficult to get through, and I hope to watch the movie just to see what the craze is about. I’d only recommend for those that enjoy slow reads, and reading about borderline abusive relationships.
What types of romances do you enjoy reading? Is there one you would recommend me? Let me know in the comments below 🙂