Saturday, February 9, 2008
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I read this one for the A to Z Challenge on the advice of numerous bloggers. It is the story of Henry and his wife, Claire. The book chronicles their life together from the time Henry met Claire when he was an adult, and she was a child. It turns out that Henry has a genetic mutation which allows him to travel through time. So he is able to meet Claire when she's a child, but he's already an adult. As their life together progresses, the reader follows Henry's erratic moves through his life. In some instances, Henry even meets various versions of himself.
STRENGTHS OF THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE: I loved everything about this book. Henry and Claire's love story is quite touching and believable, despite Henry's travels though time. The book starts as Claire declares that her job is to wait. She does spend much of the book waiting for Henry to return from a different time or waiting for him to show up at an appointed time. However, I didn't find myself feeling sorry for her because she lived a full life with friends and her art, making paper and paper sculptures. I found the ending to be both sad and glorious. Instead of being sappy, I felt like these two people were truly destined to be together.
Niffenegger's humor was apparent as Henry always appeared in his travels naked and had to beg, borrow, or steal clothes and money to get by in his new time. Henry was a wonderful character. Even though it's obvious that he has a problem with alcohol, and possibly drugs, he maintains high moral standards. He doesn't reveal what he knows of the future to friends, except for the occassional stock tip, and will not consummate his relationship with Claire until she is 18.
The author also created a wonderful world of supporting characters. I especially enjoyed some of the trampy women in Henry's life during a time period before he was married to Claire. His best friend, Gomez, and his wife were nice touch points in the story. It was a bit hard to believe that they knew about the time travel and accepted it, but it was nice to see the true friendship between the characters.
WEAKNESSES OF THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE: I really liked the book, but it was not told in a linear fashion since we followed Henry's shifts through time. This might bother some people, but it was essential to the story.
Overall, this is also a five star book for me. I could read this one over and over and probably see things I'd missed the first time through. I highly recommend it and look forward to hearing what other people thought of it.