Saturday, March 27, 2010
'The Time Traveler's Wife'- Review
Publisher: Random House
Length: 518 Pages
Opening Line: 'Claire: It's hard being left behind.'
I had some reservations as to whether or not to read 'The Time Traveller's Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger. There has been so much hype about this novel, that I thought maybe it was going to be another one of those 'throw away' novels that has over saturated the best seller lists lately.
However, the story of a time traveller whisking back and forth through time intrigued me so much, that I decided to give this book a go. I was not disappointed.
During the first half of this book, it delivered the fantastical story that I anticipated, but it became so much more than that. It tells the story of Henry who at the age of 6 discovers that he has a rare genetic disorder, which means that he involuntarily travels back and forth through time. On his journey he meets Claire, a young girl who in the future, is his wife. This book is about the struggles and problems they face dealing with Henry's condition and it tells of a love that defines time and space.
This book is intelligent and beautifully written. Audrey Niffenegger is able to take a subject such a time travel and make it plausible. The relationship she creates between Henry and Claire unnerved me at first, due to the fact that Claire is a child and Henry in his forties when the first meet. However, after understanding the concept of the situation between these two people, Niffenegger creates a wonderful tenderness between the two characters and it draws you in.This book deals with intense love, loss and longing.
Also as a person with Spina Bifida, I was particularly interested in the way that this book dealt with disability. It highlights some of the difficulties disabled people have to face when dealing with their identity, their place within society, relationships and the implications of having children. I feel that this was sensitively handled, however the only criticism I have is that during this book whenever people became aware of Henry's condition, they seemed to accept it and move on. In my experience, this isn't always the case. Some people don't want to accept people's differences and problems can arise. So I feel that maybe this book could have dealt with this issue slightly better.
Another criticism is that I felt that it was a bit rushed towards the end of the book. Although I can appreciate that ending a book so extraordinary as this one is difficult, it would have been better if ends were tied up a bit less quickly.
At times during this book, it did read like a chick-lit book and I thought that this book which started off so well, was going to be a disappointment. However, I was happy to see that Audrey Niffenegger was able to be moving, without being formulaic and predictable.
Niffenegger is able to make the reader laugh and cry seamlessly and I found that I was lost in the book completely. Normally I skim read parts of a book, however I wanted to read every word and was sad when I finished the book.
As you can tell from this review, that I love this book. It is original, quirky and is able to pull on my heartstrings without being over slushy. I highly recommend this book.