April's Reviews > The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
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Mar 30, 2008

it was amazing
Read in March, 2008

I adore this book. I love it with all my heart. The first few pages were a delight, a surprise, and from then on it was a sweet love affair. I wanted both to have read the book all at once and also to have it all yet unread so I could savor it. I simply didn't want it to end.

The story is about two people, the time traveler and his wife. On the surface, they are like any two people who love each other in modern times, except for the fact that he travels through time. You'd think that fact would make this science fiction, but this is more a romance -- actually, more a great love story than anything. A love that transcends time.

While the science fiction part of it IS interesting, it really is all about the couple, Henry and Clare. Henry's ability to time travel almost becomes a metaphor. For what? Whatever it is a reader wishes to imagine. But there'd be no story without it, as it's very intricately woven into the romance. It's unlikely they ever would have met and come together without it.

Henry and Clare both tell the story in their first person points of view, in the present tense, to indicate the here and now, though the scenes might be all at once the past, the present, and the future. They take turns, not only in telling the story, but in knowing what's to come. So the story unfolds like a flower, with each scene a petal of rosy revelation, where you see both sides -- first the outside, then the inside -- as it blooms and shows yet another petal within, ready to unfurl.

The plotting is amazing. Things that happened in one's past, halfway mentioned, become a foreshadowing of what's to come for another, and in the end, things just fall into place; bad or good, you know that whatever just happened was supposed to happen. You can't really worry about the paradoxes, though. You just have to let go of the feeling that something might never have happened were it not for one thing or another. However tangled up the cause and effect become, the whole thing seemed fated and comes full circle.

I suspect that this book inspired the TV series Journeyman, which I also love. However, they have made it light years easier for the time traveler in Journeyman. When Henry time travels, he brings nothing with him. He can't. Anything that isn't a part of his body is left behind, so he arrives naked and must steal clothes and shoes. When the man in Journeyman travels, he takes with him whatever he is wearing or holding, so he has his clothes and his cash. When Henry time travels, he is unable to change anything that, for him, has already happened. When the Journeyman time travels, it is expressly so he can go back and change the past, and when he returns to his present, things are not quite what they were when he left.

And even though the science fiction part of this book is actually fairly understated, Henry's version of time travel seems much more real to me, more plausible. His life with Clare makes it even more so because we see how it affects the two of them and their relationship with each other and with other people. Only the media seems left out of it, and I think that if Henry's ability was real, it would be very much in the media in one form or another.

I really wish I could articulate everything that I love about this book, but I think the best way to share what I'm feeling for the book right now is to recommend it to everyone I know.

Hints of Lolita again, but sweeter and more innocent.

Finished reading March 30, 2008.
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02/28 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Jennifer I think this is a great review of the book - well said. I think people who dont like this book are getting way too hung on the "plausibility" of Henry's time travel, or simply didn't connect with the love story between them. I read this book several years ago, and Henry and Clare stuck with me for so long after that, and it was one of those books that I was so sad when it ended.


message 2: by Agnes (new)

Agnes Choi I agree with you both. This book will always be one of the best books I've read. And I also think that the people who hated this book didn't connect to Clare and Henry at all, because if they did they would be able to see the depth of their relationship and their loss. I loved that Clare and Henry were both 'imperfect' thus making them more realistic. The tone of the book might've been boring to some people but it drew me in from the very first page when Clare says "He has gone where I cannot follow". This is what hooked me to the very last word of this book. The book definitely plays on human emotion and imperfection of life.


Paul Brandel Count me in with you ladies.I loved this romantic
sci/fi novel. I rarily read romantic novels,I love
mystery/thrillers. Great book indeed!


Jennifer Kadin I was shocked when I saw so many poor reviews on this book! This was, for me, one of the greatest love stories I have ever read. I have loaned my copy out to 5 of my friends and they were not disappointed. There was enough of the sci-fi element to keep my husband interested, too!
All in all, a great read!


Eleri I agree with you - I too was shocked by the negative reviews. I'm glad others 'got it' too. It was a book I just loved, told everyone about, carried round in my head .... well you know what I'm saying. :-)


Stefanie Spatola I agree too!! :)


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