The second book in the DIK 2010 Book Reading Challenge I’d like to discuss is Audrey Niffenegger‘s debut novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife. Some books I can read over and over, like watching a great movie … this one, however, was a one-time read.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s a great love story, and a good book. But I found the story between Henry and Clare a little choppy and difficult to follow at times, and a bit challenging to the ADD I’ve developed after a dozen years in marketing and working on 50 projects at a time. I need a little more linear time in my story. The question of fate versus free will was a bit frustrating, too, because I know Henry was constantly bothered by the fact that he couldn’t be where … and when … Clare was. Or, more specifically, he was probably more bothered by the fact that Clare couldn’t be where and when with him.
I’ve been married for 16 years, and while we’ve faced our share of trying issues–both of us being laid off at the same time during the dot com bust in the early part of the new milennium, extended family, growing pains–granted, we haven’t had to face them with one of us popping in and out of time. It seems like it would have been simple for Henry to slip into a great depression because of his time displacement, but he worked to find happiness and satisfaction in the now. Henry and Clare certainly encourage readers to live in the now and enjoy what you’ve got while you’ve got it. Clare certainly had her share of hope, and an ability to seek out the enjoyment of companionship … after all, who knew when his genetics would kick in and he’d pop out.
I’m a sucker for sweeping romantic gestures, and stories that make your heart swell, and The Time Traveler’s Wife had plenty of them. While I was reading it my mind recalled Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor–another great sweeping, time-spanning, haunting love story that, in the end, left me with a sadness hanging over my head that made me a little weepy.
The parallels of troubles were interesting and compelling to the story, but again, I was a little lost at times. The Time Traveler’s Wife is good, and certainly worth reading, but if you’re like me, you’ll just do it once. My heart just can’t take it.