Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife — Audrey Niffenegger

Read: 46
To Go: 54

Book List
41. The Gift — Nora Roberts
42. A Winter Solstice Celebration — DiDi LeMay
43. Limitless — Alan Glynn
44. Stuff White People Like — Christian Lander
45. The Nature of Jade — Deb Caletti
46. The Time Traveler’s Wife — Audrey Niffenegger

When Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire meet, she is twenty and he is twenty-eight; despite the fact that Henry has never seen Clare before, Clare has known Henry since she was six years old. Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, and is often drawn to emotionally important moments in his past and future. Though Henry and Clare make valiant attempts to maintain normalcy in their lives, they’re threatened by a force they can’t control.

I’ve actually owned The Time Traveler’s Wife for about two years — I bought it at the height of its popularity, around the time the movie was being released, and read about 60 pages of it before putting it down permanently (something I rarely, if ever, do). It was at the time that I was really starting to closely examine the power of words in a feminist context, so after skimming ahead through the book I came across one that didn’t sit well with me (read as: it made me livid with feminist rage), and I left the novel sitting on my shelf. I knew I was going to have to read this during my challenge — if for no other reason than to get my money’s worth out of the purchase — but it really took some doing to get interested in it again.

Having said all that, I was pleasantly surprised when I sat down to read it the second time around. It did take me quite a while to get through all 518 pages, but I enjoyed the novel overall. And as for the offending word in question, people have different vocabularies and different ideas of what’s acceptable; also, I’d like to think I’m a little bit more grown up now, and less likely to throw a rage over something as small as one word in a book.

My only real issue with The Time Traveler’s Wife was its length — the book did not need to be over 500 pages long, because it resulted in a middle section that kind of plateaued. Ultimately, it came down to this question for me: how many times did Henry really need to pointlessly disappear and run for his life in the mid-section of the book before the final pieces of the novel started to come together? The answer? Not that many. Most of his time-travels ceased to have importance, and could have easily been cut without impacting the book negatively.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read. The prose was fantastic, the story a perfect balance of heartbreak and joy, and the characters dynamic, interesting, and loveable (except for Gomez). I’d recommend it, as long as you don’t mind a super long read.

Next book: Not sure. I have about five on my book shelf, none of them interesting enough to pick up right now. We’ll see what happens.

– Kelsey

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife — Audrey Niffenegger

  1. This is an interesting review. I didn’t find anything offensive in the movie, but it had the same flaw you mention: a long and pretty pointless middle. I was watching it on cable and I fell asleep in the middle. I fell asleep twice even though I was mildly interested in whatever happened in the middle. Nothing happens in the middle.

    The female character sounds a lot more engaging in the book than she was in the film. She came across as really miserable, and I wanted to slap her because she was hurting Henry’s feelings and he was gorgeous and frequently undressed and running around dark alleys or fields of snow. Then they had a kid and then he finally died. I liked the daughter.

    The book sounds better.

    • Haha well you probably wouldn’t have, the word in question is something that I don’t think they typically use in movies. We had this conversation on twitter, but that’s really disappointing about the movie; I still want to see it, but I’m definitely going to keep in mind that it has almost the exact same structure of the book. Bummer that you fell asleep, LOL

      Clare was actually a really great character in the book; when Henry was gone she found ways to keep herself busy, and didn’t let his absences rule their life together (and didn’t get upset at him for something he couldn’t control). I can imagine wanting to slap the movie version of her — hell, I wanted to slap her from what I saw in the trailer! xD

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