Monday, June 22, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

by Audrey Niffenegger

The love story between a time traveling librarian and his stay-at-home (and in the current time) wife is a great and unique concept. The idea of their love surviving such particular odds keeps the reader engaged, and at the start of the book, it was a definite page-turner. I couldn't put it down (which was good because I was stuck on an airplane 30,000 feet in the air with about 5 hours of the flight to go). But as the story continued, my opinion of the book changed.

There were parts of the book that bored me. Paragraphs that went on that told nothing of the story; that just seemed like page fillers (which the book didn't need considering it's already over 500 pages long). The characters of Clare and Henry seemed to meld, sometimes making it hard to differentiate between the two. I had to turn back pages sometimes to see which one happened to be talking. Other characters were depressing: Gomez with his unrequited love, Lucille with her bipolar disorder, Ingrid and her suicide attempts. Happiness was definitely not an emotion intertwined with this story.

The twist at the end was a good way to tie it all together, but was also a bit predictable. You see the scene when Clare is 13 close to the beginning of the book...then it's just a matter of time for it to turn up again at the end. And was it really necessary? You slog through the other dismal parts of the book, to not be relieved at the end-- all these attempts at happiness are thwarted every which way.

When I bought this book from the bookstore, the clerk was excited. "Oh," she gasped. "That is SUCH a good book, you are really going to enjoy it." On the plane, my seat neighbor exclaimed, "Oh, I love that book." Even on the train riding to work a fellow passenger commented on how much she loved reading this intriguing story. So maybe all of those comments jinxed my own perusal. Or maybe I just expected too much out of it. Or maybe I just enjoy happy endings too much to get anything out of this book. But it's definitely not at the top of my favorites list.

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