Liza's Reviews > The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
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's review
Feb 01, 2008

really liked it
Read in February, 2008

I want the option of 1/2 stars. I give this one 4 1/2.

I’m always afraid of two things when I’ve been as captivated by a book as I have been this one. The first is that no one else will feel the same way I do about it. What if it’s actually horrible, and for some reason I love it? I’m no literary genius, after all. But I suppose we are all entitled to our own opinions, and there are certainly plenty of “great” reads out there that I am sure I did not love, or would not love if I ever read them.
The second happens about ¾ of the way in, and can be a little suffocating, if you think you know what’s going to happen: the fear of finishing. What if it’s as sad as I am expecting? What if all my questions aren’t answered? What if I just don’t want the story to end. What if I’m not as satisfied as I think I should be once it has actually ended, and there’s no hope of more?
Nevertheless, I always finish. And I am resolved to the fact that just because I love something doesn’t mean you will love it too, and that’s ok.

This book brought out these fears in an immensely incredible way for me. Sometimes I connect with a book because I feel like I am actually watching the story play out, but only as an outsider, sort of as if I am good friends with the characters. But sometimes, rarely, I connect with a book because I feel like I am the character. That was the case with this book. And that’s why I couldn’t stop reading.

David is finally finished, so I can say more.

I loved the first half of this book. Since we meet Clare when she is so young, I felt like I sort of grew up with her, getting to know this time-traveling Henry at the same time as her. But even in the first half, I struggled with a few things: Where did The List come from? And how did two Henry's appear at the same time and place so often? Maybe we aren't supposed to know those things, but they bothered me a bit. But I was easily caught up in the lives of the characters and sort of swept away by their story. Captivated, really.

The 2nd half was a little more frustrating, and not quite as lovable, though still very enjoyable and able to keep my attention for looong periods of time. But my fear of finishing with my questions still unanswered was a legitimate fear here, and I think maybe that plays into my not liking the 2nd half as much.

I, contrary to David, did not like the ending. Maybe I just wanted more, I'm not sure. I just know I felt a little let down at the end. Clare and Henry went through a whole lot of crap, all for it to end way too early in their lives. And Alba never really gets to know Henry. I know that not all stories are supposed to end happy, and I am not a fan of writing a happy ending just for the sake of a happy ending. But I think Clare and Henry got a little cheated here. Her knowledge of Henry coming, at some point, is not enough for me. She spends the rest of her life just waiting on him to show up, never knowing when he will. After having The List as a child, and then having him almost constantly as an adult, until his death, it just seems unfair that after his death, she gets up every day and waits to see if it's a day he will arrive. I finished feeling rather sorry for Clare and Alba, and frustrated for Henry, but having enjoyed their story immensely up until that point.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Davie Bennett Haha! We liked exactly the opposite parts of the book for exactly the opposite reasons!

As for Clare spending the rest of her life basically sitting around waiting for Henry, the book does make that a strong implication. But don't you think that is pretty consistent with Clare's character? As a child, even as an adult, when Henry time travels, she pretty much just waits around on him to come back. She works on her art - probably she does this after his death as well - and waits. She even admits this on the last page of the book. I secretly like that about her, that she is a tragic figure, this time traveler's wife.

There is a more subtle hint that she was actually able to move on with her life to some extent, though. When Henry shows up to meet her in her old age, he arrives in a hallway where "The hall is full of raincoats and galoshes." Family, I presume. Children and children's children.

Liza As a child, yes she does wait around on him a lot. But that's kind of to be expected I think. As an adult, I feel like she doesn't just sit around and wait all the time. She has her art and her friends, and sometimes she only knows he's been gone because someone else tells her he's running down the street naked. And then when she has Alba, she's occupied with her.
I guess I wanted her to be stronger than that in the end, because I felt like she had been quite a strong woman all along, putting up with a lot from Henry, and from her friends who thought she should leave him.
I missed the raincoat thing. Maybe she did move on, but obviously not fully, since she only becomes joyful when she sees Henry. But maybe she moved on just enough.

Taris Harlow I actually think Alba gets to know her father very well. At the end of the book she "visits" him before he knows about her but it implies that she time travels back to him in the past. He also time travels to the future to "visit" her.

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