Gina’s Reading: The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffenneggerWhat a fascinating premise for a story. When I first heard about this book all that was said was, “It is about a guy who time travels and his wife who is waiting around for him.” My first thought was, “If he can time travel why doesn’t he just come back where he left off?”

Niffenegger answers that question and lots of others as she carefully weaves the “rules” for Henry & Clare’s time-warped romance. I enjoyed the elements of normalcy–cooking, eating, music, poetry, art, children, lovemaking–within this otherwise strange set up.

I did like the book and enjoyed seeing how the time device played out. I genuinely cared about the characters and appreciated their edges. Niffenegger does a smooth job of drawing you though the story even as you bounce all over the calendar.

I struggled with some of the continuity and the dropped ideas that were sometimes introduced with passion for a short while (the medical stuff that sort of gets explained and dropped, the old couple (why??) at the beach, the secret/not secret nature of Henry’s time travel.)

I will say that I was most unsatisfied by the ending. Niffenegger hints at what is to come throughout–so there is never a moment when you get to relax and enjoy any of the intimacy that forms between Henry and Clare.  I thought we would finally get it in the parting scene–but she basically retells us what Henry has already told us three chapters earlier. Sigh.

I know saying, “It is a great first effort.” is tantamount to saying, “Better luck next time.” So I won’t say that. I will say that I wish it were still in editing and it could be tweaked to be the excellent book it almost is. I wished this so much that I hoped that the movie adaptation would improve on it that slight bit. It didn’t.

All in all, I enjoyed reading the book. So, if you are not impacted by the same critical eye disease I have, you’ll likely love it.


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