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The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
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really liked it
bookshelves: 1-fiction, 2-fic-fantasy-and-scifi, 7-arc-giveaway-won, 9-read-2018-11-november

Time travel is a complex subject. From my childhood days of reading 'The Time Machine' by H. G. Wells and watching the movie 'Back to the Future' to my adulthood escapes into devouring several new books about the topic, it's been prevalent all my life. Often the theme focuses on 'what would you change about the past' and 'what happens if you alter reality.' While those ideas are covered in Mascarenhas' novel, the Psychology of Time Travel also focuses on exactly what the title implies -- the psychological [and physical] impacts on people who have traveled through time. It's a fascinating topic handled quite adeptly and set against a backdrop of drama in which readers learn very early on, someone has been murdered... yet we don't know who it is!

I'll say from the beginning, I enjoyed this story immensely but I also recognized it's not the kind of book where you'll understand everything all in one read. Perhaps I'm not smart enough, but there were so many moments where I found myself trying to determine exactly what could've happened to lead to the woman's death. As the layers of this onion peeled away, scenes from a seventy-year period became clues about the murder. But the part that keeps you analyzing every little aspect of the story is not only (1) who is the woman, but (2) what time period is she from! That's what makes it such a clever and intriguing story. At several points in the book, characters meet themselves in different decades of their lives, and they also live exclusively in another decade rather than the one they should be living in. So... if you're smart and intuitive, you'll be totally enthralled no matter what. If you're like me (whatever that means), forget some of those boundaries and rules... and enjoy the novel as a thoroughly wonderful mystery and a discovery of how people change throughout time.

One of the best parts of the book is the connection I felt with most of the characters. Whether it was the girl who found the body in a museum where she worked, or the determination of a scientist who had a bit of a breakdown trying to force her way back into the time travel program, Mascarenhas offers heavy emotions and painful actions to depict all the ways someone can be hurt. How can one woman be so cold to turn her back on a friend just because it might hurt the time travel program? How can another sabotage science for personal gain? Do you let someone do something you fear just because you know they'll be hurt even if they don't? The book tosses out more questions than answers at times, but honestly... some of those answers are probably up to interpretation by a reader and each individual personality. This is where the psychological aspects come into play. We're all going to read this book differently because we all identify with life experiences differently.

As a mystery, it's non-traditional. An amateur sleuth or a detective is not trying to solve the murder; this approach is not the forefront of the story. The answers unfold as we see what happens over time to several characters who ask questions in different time periods. It's a cool concept, and it helps the author focus on many other brilliant parts of these women's lives. For example, romance... a girl falls in love with one of these women, but they're nearly 40 years apart in age -- except when you travel to different time periods, that's no longer true. Another example, a woman yearns to help those who are being hurt by time travel, but she doesn't know how to fix it other than do something illegal. In time, we see how all these events are connected and encourage the dramatic standoff that leads to someone's death.

The writing is great. The characters are all flawed but you root for them even when they do something wrong. Well... maybe not one of them who just irritated me non-stop once I learned she wasn't as nice as she appeared to be. A villain is necessary, so it's not anything negative about the book. It's actually something well done by Mascarenhas because you love to hate this woman. I wanted to shake her until the truth came out. It's fantastic when a writer can evoke such emotion from a reader. All this said, I end up giving the book 4.25 stars. So much of it was beautiful and engaging. A few parts were overly complex and left out a few things that might have made the whole story even more connected and immersive. I'd definitely read future works from the author.
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Reading Progress

October 26, 2018 – Shelved
October 26, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
October 26, 2018 – Shelved as: 1-fiction
October 26, 2018 – Shelved as: 2-fic-fantasy-and-scifi
October 26, 2018 – Shelved as: 7-arc-giveaway-won
November 26, 2018 – Started Reading
November 28, 2018 –
page 60
17.86% "I knew it would be complex and cause my brain to go into overdrive. I’m white-knuckling it and keeping a firm grasp so far. On my reality and my understanding of the science aspects. The characters are fascinating. The mystery is intriguing. Just who is this dead woman?"
November 29, 2018 –
page 190
56.55% "Intriguing and complex. Time travel is so fascinating, but it hurts my brain."
November 29, 2018 – Shelved as: 9-read-2018-11-november
November 29, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Kimber (new) - added it

Kimber Great review! It definitely sounds intriguing!

James Thanks, Kimber. A unique one.

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