Debbie's Reviews > The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
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's review
Jan 04, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy-scifi, contemporary-adult-fiction
Read in January, 2010

The blurb on the front cover from the Chicago Tribune says, "A soaring celebration of the victory of love over time." For me, however, time - specifically the traveling in it - trumped the love story. Henry, the male main character, involuntarily travels back and forth in time. Many of his time travels take him to Clare, who gets to know his future self as he visits her frequently during her growing up. Eventually they meet in real time and get married, and then Clare has to watch and wait while he disappears for hours or days at a time, sometimes on visits to her past self.

This was something of my thought process throughout the book (the chronology might be off - ha ha): Old Henry is visiting Young Henry. Wait! In Harry Potter, Dumbledore specifically instructs Harry and Hermione not to show themselves to their past selves! This is a different kind of time travel! Old Henry is visiting Young Clare and talking about free will. She has it in her present, but his future self doesn't have it in her present/his past because the future has already happened. Wait, huh? Think...think...think.... Okay, that actually makes sense. If his future self made a different choice in Young Clare's present, then his future self would be different. Henry and Clare make a lot of love and get married. Henry visits the future. Wait! HOLD ON! I was sort of accepting Henry's going back in time for the story's sake, but going to the future? How can you go someplace/sometime that doesn't exist yet??

I realize that I am thinking linearly, which, I think, precludes any belief in time travel, but it's going to take me several more hours of concentration to think any other way. Which means that for now, I don't buy it. I find it interesting that the concept of time travel gave me such a hard time with this book. After all, I read fantasy. But while my inner logic appears to accept magic with nary a qualm, it is rejecting time travel.

Time travel aside, I did enjoy Henry and Clare's story. I liked reading about their life together in the present. There were nice, homey scenes when I forgot about their special circumstances and thought about them as a normal couple. I am curious about certain aspects of the future, though....

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