Swaps55's Reviews > The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
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's review
Jan 31, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: modernlit, scifi-fantasy, best-books-ever
Recommended for: EVERYONE
Read in February, 2007

** spoiler alert ** Warning: Spoilery review. Short version: Hurry up and read this.

Holy crap. Someone should have warned me about reading this book at work. I have been sitting here bawling my eyes out, tears streaming madly down my cheeks, flooding my eyes until the words swim into fields of glistening black lines. This book is so beautiful and anguishing to read I can't even be objective about it, because it was one of those stories that just burrowed a lot closer to home than you could ever feel comfortable with. Really, though, even objectively I have little to offer in the way of criticism. What was probably a nightmare of a book to write was woven together seamlessly, so beautifully constructed it seems more like a living, organic thing than an idea born inside someone's head.

I liked the foreshadowing, I liked the intricacy, I liked that we never really know what Alba chooses in the future, whether she embraces the time travel or tries to stop it. I loved the poignant pain that begins to trickle across the pages as the pieces begin falling into place. I am curious to see how Clare and Alba's relationship developed once Henry was gone, but I was happy it was not in the story. That there are plenty of things for my imagination to fill in makes me happy. I also really liked the approach the author took to the paradox of time travel. It seemed the most plausible, unarguable position I've ever heard (and I have taken a class on it), though I have not allowed myself to think about it too hard as I have no wish, at least within the context of this book, to unravel how much sense it makes.

What really hit me in the gut (seriously, I did not even cry this hard when I read "Where the Red Fern Grows" for the first time, and I got red-faced, puffy-eyed and ugly over that one), was the horrible feeling that I could see myself as Clare and know exactly how she felt about Henry, and could fill the unwritten pages of her future with grief that I would know and understand. I cannot imagine losing my husband. I cannot imagine ever having to face a day knowing that he was not there, and never would be again. No matter how much I would want to think that for his sake I would be strong, go on, live out my life with joy and accomplishment as he would have wanted, the truth is I would probably wind up just like Henry's father, a wasted, squandered creature who does not know how to exist alone without the sound of his laughter, the warmth of his arms around my body, the feel of his head resting against my chest, the drowsy murmur of "I love you" against my ear as we drift off to sleep, the domestic intimacy and companionship that accompanies the hiss of bacon frying in the skillet as he and I stand side by side fixing breakfast on Sunday mornings. I do not know who I would be without those things, but I would be someone unrecognizable from who I am now.

This book is also listed on IMDB, which really excites me, as I think it could be a beautiful movie. Everything it needs to be good is right here in the book, and because of the manner of Henry's death, it even lacks the melodramatic twist that most dramas rely on, such as a car accident, an act of God, or something else outside of the character's control. No, there is culpability here, and that is an incredibly powerful thing. While it was not the purpose of this book to examine how Claire dealt with her father and brother after Henry's death, or how they dealt with themselves, it would have been so interesting to see. There's too much to like about this book, and something so real and raw and powerful about the sadness and grief it portrays. Incredible.
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02/09 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-36 of 36) (36 new)

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Dottie What a marvelous review! And so precisely on target. This was an amazing book.

Alison Silvercharmer--you should join the Rory Gilmore book club. They are discussing this book right now, and you would be a great one to have on board.

Erica I honestly couldn't have written a review that expressed how I feel about this book better than you did. I feel the same way about my husband and not knowing how I would spend my life without him. Claire knows that Henry will be back and I'm sure that's what allows her to carry on with her life after he's gone. What hit me so hard was imagining myself in Claire's place, especially since I was reading the book just a few months before I got married.

Merrin Whits! Your review made me cry all over again, and I read that book two years ago. I'm glad you loved it as much as I did. I don't know if I'd be able to be friends with you anymore if you didn't.

Did you get to that point that I did? Where the foreshadowing was enough that you KNEW it was going to end tragically and you just couldn't put it down until the very end? Because I got to that point around 12 am and had to stay up until 3 crying and reading and blowing my nose until I finished it.

Love that book.

Angela Excellent review! I just finished the book today and am still in awe how much I love this book.

Marti I dont get how Henry died? Did Care's brothers accidentally shoot him while hunting? What about the part when he was found in the parking garage and had to go to the hospital? Maybe it is obvious but I don't understand. Help???

Geri I was shocked to see a lot of negative reviews. I completely agree with your comments. I couldn't stop crying, and I felt like I had lost someone. As you said, I couldn't imagine losing my husband and the book is just such a moving love story! It just stays with you.

Cheryl Very rarely does a book affect me the way this book has. As I was reading the book I was updating my husband on what was happening. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and had to share it with him. The only thing that I didn't like was how it cut to the future forty years later at the end and we find Clare much older. I felt like Niffenegger could've written more about the time in between, but that's just me wanting more from the book.

The movie is being released next month and I can't wait! I need another fix!

Gracia You cannot truly understand this book unless you had your own share of uncertainty and loss in life...
I agree with silvercharmer, I actually felt the pain that is trickling slowly as you turn on the pages. But yes, there are parts in the book that made me squirm.
I can only say that, Clare's lot is a lot more fortunate. I would give the whole world just to see that someone I lost, again, even with my wrinkled face and white hairs... And Audrey just made me more believe that somehow, somewhere and someday, we'll get to see those we love and we lost.
They were just time traveling. :)

Cortney Botto Thank you for actually giving this book a positive rating/review. Sure, it had its issues, but I would have to agree with you that it was amazing. I also was swept up in the emotional turmoil of the end of the book, and have been doing this odd sort of crying on and off since I finished the book 1/2 an hour ago. Im a mess and not ready to let go of Henry, or Clare for that matter. Sigh. Great review :)

Katie Marti wrote: "I dont get how Henry died? Did Care's brothers accidentally shoot him while hunting? What about the part when he was found in the parking garage and had to go to the hospital? Maybe it is obviou..."

I was confused about this too. I gathered that first, he got hypothermia from the parking garage and went to the hospital. Then, he had his feet amputated. So when he went time traveling next, he was unable to run away, and Clare's dad and brother shot him thinking he was a deer or what not.

message 12: by Agnes (new)

Agnes Choi Omg, like 'Geri' I was really shocked to see negative reviews about this amazing, mind-blowing book. I'm pretty younger than many people on here cause I'm still in my late teens, but I could FEEL the depth of Clare and Henry's love and their sadness. I was crying so hard and couldn't fall asleep after finishing the book. The review by 'Silvercharmer' totally sums up my feelings about this book. I felt totally in tune with Clare and Henry and the end broke my heart. To be able to see someone you love one last time like Clare did at the very end when she was older would be the most wonderful thing. The time traveler's wife took my breath away.

Lynnie Your review was perfect! I loved this book in the exact same way, caught up in it, twisted in emotions and questions that still linger long after the book has ended. Amazing.

Aaron When I was reading thr book a second time, I came across Henry saying "I would die without my legs" she did a great job on forshadowing.

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Amazing review. I loved the book very much, it's a wonderfully new romance movie.

message 16: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Mcfiddlestien I agree with the review also. I am glad that others can express their views so well. I don't feel capable to do so myself.

Kubra Hey I agree 100% with you!!! I have a husband and could not even imagine how hard and jut how horrible life would be without him and his presense. That means alot. An just like you I cried alot over this book too. As always I put myself in the person in the books shoes and end up crying more than Ever over a book lol. Your great with taste. :) thanks for the review!!

Denise Mjelde Loved your review. If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't. I think the more you love the book, the more disappointing the movie will be.

Katie Denise wrote: "Loved your review. If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't. I think the more you love the book, the more disappointing the movie will be."

I usually think that the book is better than the movie. Surprisingly, this movie was portrayed perfectly. You'll love it!

Charlotte Oh, yes! Your review expresses everything I experienced while reading this story. I'm so grateful I was alone because I couldn't help but sob openly.

Suzanne I really enjoyed your review. I read the book last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I like the idea of time travel and find it fascinating and thought this book captured the premise nicely. I agree with "understanding how Claire feels about Henry". I emulated her grief while reading through it. DId you see the movie? I found the movie as most do, did such a disservice to the book.

message 22: by Simplyana:) (new) - added it

Simplyana:) After Reading your comment it has inspired me to read the book today!

Suzanne I'm glad, it was a different kind of read, and it absolutely kept my interest.

Melissa I started reading this book again and it all takes in new meaning. It's like a big circle and things you thought as being inconsequential at the beginning are understandable in a whole new way. Loved your review. I'm also surprised by all the negative reviews. I don't get it. The characters felt so real that it seemed like I was reading a non-fiction autobiography on Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire. I wonder how it came about though, it seems like in order for Harry to have been visited by his future self for the first time, that he wouldve had to live his life first. So much to think about.

message 25: by Becca (new) - added it

Becca Haven't actually read the book yet - am planning on it - but for anyone who hasn't yet seen the movie, I can assure you it is utterly beautiful and heartbreaking.

Dianne David great review! :) well while reading this book, i sobbed and sobbed. felt that i was claire. a great book, it caught my heart. and one of my favorites. :)

Mavra Rafi wow.. I cried too while reading this one.. thank god I'm not alone. =)

Dianne David yes, Mavra, you're not alone :)

message 29: by Patricia (new) - added it

Patricia Turner patty. can't wait to read.

Irena Stipanovic you summon it all in your review, such a great one for great book. I was also at work and at the end was wait what? this is tragic :O crying while the people at my work looked at me with ? mark on their face D': all in all great book and great review :)

Mary Kate Yes, this book was amazing. I can't believe there are so many bad reviews at the top. But I have to disagree with some people about the movie--it was really terrible. Read the book over and over like I did--you catch something new every time--but skip the movie.

Dianne David Irena wrote: "you summon it all in your review, such a great one for great book. I was also at work and at the end was wait what? this is tragic :O crying while the people at my work looked at me with ? mark on ..."

omigahd! me too. it was like people were staring at me with "What happened?" or "she's crazy" kind of facial expression. hahah

message 33: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz I wasn't too fond of this book, but I'm glad you liked it. It's rare to find books that really grab you like that. (Of course, when I cry during books, it's from something sad happening, instead of, "Best! Book! Ever!")

message 34: by yuan zeng (new)

yuan zeng 还能有个别想你

message 35: by yuan zeng (new)

yuan zeng 不要去过了我这次于事无补么么

message 36: by yuan zeng (new)

yuan zeng 觉得很还斤斤计较姐姐好久不见恨不能客家话

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