READ THIS BOOK: The Time Traveler’s Wife

I haven’t done any book reviews on blog yet. It’s not that I don’t read a lot of books, it’s just that I’ve always thought people who review books must have much bigger brains than me.

I think it’s because I read so quickly, I miss a lot of the deeper stuff in books. When someone points out the dramatic elements like symbolism, or foreshadowing, or dominant themes and motifs, I can certainly see what they’re talking about. But when I read, I don’t notice that stuff consciously. I can go back and pick it out after the fact, but I don’t usually absorb it as part of the book-devouring process.

Twice in my government career I’ve had my English language skills evaluated, and both times it echoed the comments I’ve received on almost every academic paper or thesis I’ve ever written: superior technical language skills, but the analysis needs a little work.

In other words, I’m all flash and no substance.

Which is why I’ve always been a little shy about even joining a book club, let alone standing up here all by myself to do a book review without a net (that net being someone else who can do all the talking so I can nod sagely and engagingly and look like what they are saying is just the bon mot I was about to utter.)

Also, if I’m going to do a book review, it would probably make sense to wait until I’ve actually finished the book. I’m only about ten per cent of the way in.

I’m going to throw all that to the wolves, however, because I am itching to talk to somebody about this book and at least blog sits still and listens patiently and doesn’t get that glazed look in its eye like it would rather be filing its taxes than listen to me drone on when I haven’t even half of an idea what I’m talking about. Right?

The book is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I can’t remember the last time I was so captivated by a book from the first page. I don’t want to give away anything about it, because I really think this book should be approached as I approached it, with absolutely no idea what everyone was going on about. Let me just quote this from the book jacket:

When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. He is a hip librarian; she is a beautiful art student. Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six…

It’s a love story, a mystery, just the tiniest bit sci-fi/fantasy but not in a hobbits and ogres sort of way. As I said, I’m only 50-odd pages in, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Normally, I read very quickly, and it’s 500+ pages long, so I have a lot to look forward to, yet I find myself already slowing down to savour this one – I think I’ll be sad when the last page is turned.

Thank you bunches to Nancy for recommending this one way back before Christmas. I had requested it from the library, and was three zillionth in the queue, and when it finally came in I forgot to go and pick it up so had to re-queue for it all over again.

Ironically, I’ve realized that if it keeps up being this good for the next 450 pages I will have to buy my very own copy. (See, even though I don’t always notice them in the text, I can use most dramatic elements correctly — unlike fellow Ottawan Alanis, who really does need a lesson on what is and is not ironic.)

So I guess this isn’t so much a critique as a recommendation. A very spirited, long-winded and circuitious recommendation. Have you read it? What did you think? (No spoilers, please.)


Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

15 thoughts on “READ THIS BOOK: The Time Traveler’s Wife”

  1. Told ya! I knew you’d like it, glad to hear you really are. I won’t spoil it, but it just gets better.
    Now add The Kite Runner to your list.
    Would love to see more blogged book reviews!

  2. Shit ….I can’t seem to get into the book I’m reading and now I want to run out and buy this one…just on your recomendation. (No libriray’s up here)
    Sounds good. Going to check out chapters online to see if they have it.
    Thanks dani.

  3. Haven’t read it yet–must add it to my list. But I needed to say: THANK YOU for using per cent correctly. It bugs me to no end to see Canadians using the American spelling.

  4. Dani, are you missing a rib or something? I’m so relieved to find somone else who shares my reading tendencies.
    I too happen to read things very quickly, and then find that I’ve missed a few nuances that I should maybe have savoured. That, and my retention sucks. I’ll read a book, love it to pieces, and if I discuss it I’ll be all “And when whatsisname did that thing? And then that girl, you know who I mean, said that stuff? That was cool.”
    I feel like I haven’t got two brain cels left to rub together after a long day with Josephine, but I might indulge in your recommendation as a way to reclaim some enjoyment out of reading.
    My night table reading pile is still topped by “The Mother of All Toddler Books”, because I keep searching and searching through it to find out why my child likes to put towels over her head and run around until she crashes into things and falls and then cries. Repeatedly. Anyone? Anyone? Will this book tell me why?

  5. Thanks for the recommendation Nancy and Dani, I will add them to my list 🙂
    I love getting back into reading!

  6. I tried to read The Time Traveler’s Wife a while ago, and couldn’t get past the 2nd page. Said, I’m not into sci-fi, then I ended up listening to it. The recorded book has a man and a woman reading their respective parts and I was hooked. I absolutely loved this book. And was haunted by it for months. The entire issue of time and savoring your time with loved ones and the fragility of our relationships…no spoilers, it’s a great book!
    I just finished Case Histories, and that one is sticking with me also!

  7. Sheesh, Nancy, couldn’t you find some less popular books to recommend? I’m queued at 400 for the Kite Runner! As if I didn’t already trust your judgement enough, I read the Amazon reviews and wow – I hope the queue moves quickly!
    LOL @ Andrea – I honestly didn’t realize that one was a Canadianism, it’s just the way I learned to write it. Funny how we all have our piccadillos that irritate us, isn’t it? Mine is improper apostrophes.
    Marla, you are my secret sister, aren’t you? I read *exactly* as you describe, and half the reason I wrote the review of TTWife in mid-read is because by the time I closed the cover upon finishing the book I would promptly forget almost everything about it. I’m trying hard to go slow and absorb more this time, but it’s hard not to race ahead.
    And, um, that thing about the towels? Photoshop that image to erase the towel, add a bucket over the head, and add a forty pound clumsy preschooler with a bucket over his head doing the same thing. That was my house last night. I think they actually dented the drywall. Good god, can you imagine them as 6’5″ 200lbs teenagers? Help!
    Kathy, that audio book of TTWife sounds amazing!! Maybe I’ll get it from the library for our next long car trip. I just checked, and I am now 11 in the queue for Case Histories. Sounds like my next read after this one.
    xo Danigirl

  8. Loved it! and Kite Runner
    I spent the whole weekend crying shamelessly through what I thought would be a light beach read. Whoops! “PS I Love You” was a very sweet romantic book and it was an enjoyable light read…but yikes. I’m still wringing out my pillow.

  9. Nancy, I am flying through this book! Who knew I had enough time to read almost three hundred pages in five days? I guess I’m not as busy as I thought I was!!
    Don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but can I hint that my fave part so far is a wedding?
    Thanks again!
    xo Danigirl, torn between reading, blogging and – what’s that other thing I’m supposed to be doing? – oh yeah, WORKING!

  10. i loved this book, it was not about anything specific and still about everything all at the same time. when i finished reading it i felt like i had lost a loved one, i wished i had not read it just so i could read it all over again. i bought it for as many people who love to read as i could. kind of like paying it forward. when i see it in the book store i get kind of weepy like seeing an old friend after a long time.

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