Matthew's Reviews > The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
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's review
Apr 25, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobooks, paranormal-fiction

** spoiler alert ** When this book first came out I admit to having my usual smart-ass reaction at the title. And then there was a movie based on it. It wasn't until I found the audiobook while perusing my local library's online catalog that I finally broke down and listened to it.

Niffenegger takes the sometimes-difficult subject of time travel and makes it accessible by creating a surprisingly linear story told in a sort-of-non-linear fashion. The story is told primarily from Claire Abshire's point of view, though we often see things from Henry's DeTamble's point of view and sometimes we see the same sequence from both characters points of view.

The author takes great care in guiding the reader through the time-travel by noting both the date and the ages of Henry and Claire. She also takes great pains to make the character's voices different enough that the reader (or listener in my case) can tell instantly whose point of view the story has moved to. The audiobook has both male and female readers who voice Henry and Claire respectively, which makes the point of view issue even easier to get a handle on.

The Time Travelers Wife is, at its core, a romance, but not in the standard cliche of a romance novel. Henry and Claire start out as friends (Claire is all of six years old when they first meet. Henry is in his thirties.) and only slowly do they fall in love.

The fact of Henry's time-travel ability is explained easily and matter-of-factly. It's a genetic disease, sort of like epilepsy, which causes him to travel backward or forward in time. It is, like an epileptic seizure, uncontrollable and involuntary and lasts for differing amounts of time at each occurrence.

There are many humourous moments in the book, made more so by the inflections of the readers. (This is one area where a good reader can enhance a story. Solid voice acting can make or break an audiobook.) Both Henry and Claire are engaging characters with well-rounded and well-thought out lives.

Perhaps the only thing that mars the book at all is the slightly cliche ending, though, to be fair, there are few places one can go when one has written a story like this. Sometimes a cliche works because of the shorthand it offers both the writer and the reader.

The Time Travelers Wife is, in all, a very good novel of love and life. If there is any message here it is that a certain strength of will and a certain amount of patience can bring even the most star-crossed lovers together.

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Reading Progress

April 25, 2010 – Started Reading
April 25, 2010 – Shelved
April 25, 2010 –
page 6
33.33% "Audiobook. On disc 6 of 16."
April 29, 2010 – Finished Reading
April 30, 2010 – Shelved as: audiobooks
August 31, 2010 – Shelved as: paranormal-fiction

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