Erin's Reviews > The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
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Oct 11, 2011

i hate reading books that everyone keeps bothering me to read. first there are the gushing reviews from the media, complete with intelligent sound clips:

"it's so awesome! so titillating! the way the author captures that thing where the girl says that stuff and then they go to that cool place.. you know? even oprah says so!"

and then there are the crowds of friends who carry around their freshly bought "it" book (ok, i'm bitter, i can't afford to buy new books) who can't wait to share their newfound genius at having read said new "it" book. they want to tell you... ooh, but erin hasn't read it yet, has she? ugh. well we'll just have to discuss later, then. *SIGH*". have you read it yet? have you read it yet? have you read it yet? have you---OW.

"OW" being the moment i use aforementioned freshly purchased "it" book to smack someone over the head, thus ending my brief first and last encounter with said book, forever. unless it wins a nobel prize and i'm required to read it for sake of my intelligence. which has NEVER HAPPENED.

*spoiler alert* HOWEVER. (sorry, this all caps thing is growing on me)
however, a used copy of the time travelers wife was the biggest book i could find in the bargin bin before i boarded my 5 hour flight back to the east coast this holiday season, and therefore i found myself starting a novel that's been beaten over my head by all my bffs since it came out. and let me tell you, small cabin space and an a measly in-flight movie selection of "the game plan" and "george lopez's shitty sitcom whatever it's called" were the only things keeping me from dropping my interest throughout the first couple of chapters. i wanted to like these characters, because i like time travel, and anyone who gets to try it out should definitely also be cool. but i kept wondering, when does it get good? when does it get good? when does it get---

and i'm not sure when it happened, but suddenly it got GOOD. i mean, really good. it wasn't really enough for me, just wondering when claire and henry would get together, because, to be honest, i wasn't that invested in their characters. i can't explain this, because i can't pinpoint the reason. the quality of writing was decent, i can find no specific thread to rant on about the characters not being developed... there was just no hook. after the first tiny intro at the very very beginning, i kept waiting for that sense of urgency to come back. and then it did. suddenly, beautifully, there was so much for them to live for, and as soon as i got that lovely, dreadful inkling that henry was going to die... of COURSE he has to die, shut up, i didn't spoil anything, this is a love story... then i couldn't get enough. i think the build up of flash backs helped incredibly in this as well, because after i had gained this huge database of memories i was inexplicably and wonderfully tied up in the drama of their stories. it was a slow, eventual build, but the payoff was WELL (there's that caps button again! god it's fun) worth it.

which, let me tell you, almost never happens in these cases (unless you write "a million little pieces" and oprah shoves her big foot in her mouth and people like me get to watch the spectle on cnn between episodes of "arrested developement". lovely.

ps. in a random, non funny tangent, i would also like to briefly comment on the fact that she wouldn't give up having her all important baby. wow, annoying. i felt just as tired as henry. give it up woman, you're wasting precious time with him and exhausting everybody on your insane quest. don't get me wrong, i felt really bad for her during the first part... but SIX miscarriages? i know there's an element like "who could handle that much sadness", but i got to thinking, "who could bring that much death on themselves"? where is the point where you say, it's not going to work, and i'll accept that? i was frustrated because i felt like she was spending what little time she had with henry making him worried about everything when they could have just been... living.

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Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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message 1: by Sandy (last edited Feb 11, 2008 01:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandy Maybe you need to mark "Spoiler Alert" on your review - it was the first one that came up...and you had a hook with the 3 paragraphs of ranting, that kept me reading your review. And then - there it was. There is an option to select SPOILER ALERT - you should use it.

Michellev I second that! Add the spoiler alert, please!

message 3: by Kara (new) - added it

Kara I third that. :(

message 4: by Sunshine (new)

Sunshine I think in addition to not putting your review as a spoiler alert, that you should know that you are not alone in friends and people raving over books. But you shouldn't "hate" that about people. And if you don't like it, just move on to something else and let these people know that you don't ever want to hear about their opinions when it comes to books, that way you don't write articles you don't want to read about in the first place.

Anna I also hate when people bother me to read this or that book. It's one of the reasons why I didn't read Da Vinci Code and other Dan Brown's books or any similiar books. But I love this book. Nobody was saying constantlu that I have to read it. I think I've never heard of it til I saw it at Goodreads and than in Cheap Books Warehouse in Cracow. I bought it and it appeared to be very, very, very, very, very, very good.

message 6: by schmoozie (new)

schmoozie Thanks so much for this great review. I rarely read a whole review if it's longer than about 3 or 4 lines, but yours had me ROFLMAO!! I think YOU (there are those caps) should write a book. Please do. I was seriously LOL! I love your perspective and writing style. It wasn't polished, but it's just a review on I would seriously BUY YOUR BOOK if you wrote one and I would of course BUG ALL MY FRIENDS to read it! ...signing off still chuckling...

message 7: by Kim E. (last edited Jul 01, 2008 06:30AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim E. Yep. Use your spoiler alert button, girlfriend. Enjoyed your review. You're a pretty dang good writer. :)

Stefani OK, I'll keep reading it...I was hoping that someone would say that it "gets good," 'cause at first, its just tedious.

I too tend to be pretty hard on people that insist a book is really great and you just have to read it and isn't too bad that haven't read it and you don't know what you are missing and you just aren't in that club...but I am starting to think that I am just old and bitter and jealous that they can get joy out of things that are actually pretty shitty.

I haven't read the DaVinci Code, and won't, nor will I read the Frickin' Mother F'ing goddang Harry fucking Potter books. They may be "good," but they are for childeren and young I said, I am old and bitter and there is already more age appropriate (old and bitter) material than I have time for. /rant

Suffice it to say - thank you for your review, useful it is.

Stephanie I hear you on the recipe-for-a-love-story bit, but the death comment constitutes a spoiler nonetheless. It's SO SAD to think someone might choose not to read this book, or would get less out of it, because of that unnecessary addition to your otherwise review-worthy review. Please edit or use SPOILER ALERT for the benefit of all of those TTW virgins out there!

Annie Ok, I just read your review. Pretty damn good writing! So I agree that you need to edit for SPOILER ALERT. I am only at the point where she has her 5th miscarriage in the book. I was so bummed. I couldn't stop reading your review though. I also agree that you need to write a book. Seriously. I forgive you only because you wrote such a great review.

Michael Splendid review. I, like schmoozie (up in message 6- I am not a number, I am a free man- inside joke with myself), found real joy and humor in your take on the book. Very readable, engaging, and effin fun. I also really liked the reviewed book, but that took a back seat to my smile over your narrative. Sorry about the a$$ kissing and it's too bad that folks who haven't read the book already may have been spoiled by your commentary, but I think it was worth it.

message 12: by Erin (last edited Dec 08, 2008 09:58PM) (new)

Erin Seriously, I don't think it was a spoiler. I mean this type of book you don't read because you want something that is a mystery. You know what's gonna happen next, but that's not the point. You read it cause its a good tale.

That whole friends and world back off is so true. Stupid Twilight. I want to kill Twilight and it's not its fault. I really don't mind Twilight much, but when you have read enough preternatural books to start discussing theories and techniques to make the theories believable, Twilight just sucks...

And now I got ten million people (who never use to read anything but what they had to) telling me they know everything about vamps and how cool they are. Thank you very much, but I was mocked enough for liking preternatural stuff before it came out. I would love to be able to beat every said one with their copy but, they never have it on them. Not even good enthusiasts.

Michael That might be a good reason to carry a copy of Twilight.

message 14: by Erin (last edited Dec 09, 2008 01:44PM) (new)

Erin That's a heavy book... Plus, I'm not an enthusiast and really don't want to be seen as one. I do carry around a Gilmore Girl's book with me! Nice, light, and oh so wonderful!

Elliot Loved your review Erin. There's that moment that you talk about when, for no apparent reason that you can discern, the characters become so dear, that you're like "What is this feeling?" And then, for some of us at least, we realize what it is. Why, for example, do so many readers weep while going through this book? Why do people wake up in the night, thinking of Claire and Henry?
I lived in Chicago for many years, and on a visit back, I found myself driving around their neighborhood (Lincoln Square) and other neighborhoods that they visited in their lives, thinking, "That's where Claire and Henry had a house. That's where they danced in the street..."
Crazy, right? Saccharine? Cloying? For some perhaps, but how valuable for me... I think you have to know those feelings, or worse, you have to know them and lose them to fully appreciate this book. There are some who have some valid criticisms about the writing style or character development or other literary analytical failings, but that isn't the point to a book like this. The story and its characters transcend analysis, because Niffeneger creates love. How do you criticize that?
Again, loved your review.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I've already read the book and I already love the book, but your review made me love the book even more (and it made me laugh quite a bit). I'm pleased you finally read the book and came to find the good in it despite the annoyances your friends caused you by shoving the book in your face. ;)
And I agree a bit with the baby bits. But, in the end it turns out alright. She gets Alba and Alba has a little bit of Henry in her, so Clare doesn't have to completely relinquish him. Plus the whole thing with Henry time traveling in the future and Alba to the past is such a good subplot.

message 17: by Camea (new)

Camea I've been pregnant 9 time had 7 m/c and 2 beautiful girls... it's not crazy to want to have a baby. It is sad to deal with that much loss, but it's not inconcievable, nor is it impossible. You grieve, you deal, you move on, and when you're lucky it works.

message 18: by Michelle (new)

Michelle I'm still not completely sure if you liked the book or not. o.0

message 19: by Caris (new)

Caris This review ruined my life!

message 20: by Lacy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lacy weren't you SO happy that claire had Alba in the end though? I was and was praising her for her courage to continue through the pregnancy struggle.

Marie When I read the book, I already assumed that Henry (why did I want to call him Greg lol) was going to die and that there would be Alba (thank you movie commercial). But with the miscarriage thing, I dont understand why she kept trying. I mean, I get it but at the same time... miscarriages are damaging!

And also, just because the past him had sex with her to have Alba, how did the past him make Alba not time travel too early? A lot of things in the book just didnt make any sense to me. That and when Henry was shot he was standing, but in the present time, Henry had no legs. So... how did that work?!

Caroline Wood Elliot wrote: "Loved your review Erin. There's that moment that you talk about when, for no apparent reason that you can discern, the characters become so dear, that you're like "What is this feeling?" And then..."

Thank you, I completely agree.

Caroline Wood Also, I loved your review. (Side note: Never read this book after seeing the movie. Ever. The movie just typifies the traditional chick-lit expectation of a shallow romantic plot. This book is anything but that.)

I think I'm going to go write my own review right now, but I just wanted to say that you captured that moment so well...the moment when you get past the impossibility of time travel and realize just how good this book really is. Yeah, it's about love. But it's about real love, love that withstands the tests of time, and proves itself through so many challenges. This book is real. It's not a fantasy, it's not just a book you get through and forget. Okay, I'm going to stop and go write my own review. Sorry.

But, I loved what you had to say.

message 24: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Pearson Loved your review. :) I want to read YOUR books, do you have any??

I am going to follow your reviews from now on.

message 25: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie Yeah... your review is a spoiler. A very humorously written spoiler, but still a spoiler. I don't normally read this genre so I had no idea to "expect" the lead to die. Way too many key details were given that I'm gonna have to wait a while to read this title and hope I forget them.

Missa thank you for hooking me with your well-written rant and then blurting out story details with no warning. Do you tell your friends the ends of movies as well? I mean the annoying friends that bug you about not reading certain books, that is.

Don't say, it's not a spoiler you knew it had to happen. Just mark it with a spoiler alert next time. That kind of sucked.

message 27: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara H. I mostly agree with you, except for the last thing you said.
Clare eventually did stop trying, after all those miscarriages, but then Henry came from the past and you know... and then she got pregnant and it worked. So they did give up eventually. But then it just happened.

message 28: by Pete (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pete Monaghan Who else was upset at the movie? The differences really upset me. I just don't understand why they do it.

This site has a big list of the changes they made for the movie. Any that were missed?

Courtney Bahaha good review. Except I hated this book for the same reasons it irritated you, except you must be a more accepting person because those irritating things ruined it for me. Anyway, good review, made me lol. :)

message 30: by Curt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Curt Martin I loved the book ever since I read the advanced reader copy in 2003. I can't relate to all the negative reviews. This book swept me away from the very beginning. So many episodes resonated with me, the cage, the furnace room, duct tape, the first time Henry meets Claire, the museum. And Alba at the museum. Yes, I had to put the book down and bawl my eyes out. Every time I read it. That said, the movie totally sucked. Totally. Why did they even attempt to make it?

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