This past weekend I finished The Time Traveler’s Wife in two days. The saga definitely needs a quiet few days to get through the almost 600 pages. I know I connected with the characters and their romance because I SOBBED through the last 30 pages, so much so that after I finished the last page I sought solace in hubby’s arms as I continued to bawl thinking about it.
Which is weird because I thought I didn’t even LIKE the main characters Clare and Henry. After my tears dried I reflected…and stalled on writing this blog post…and ultimately decided I DID NOT like Clare and Henry, and would not read this book again. The ending may have evoked a strong emotional response from me, but analytically there were more “cons” than “pros” in the story for me.
Number 1 worst possible thing that turned me off by page 57 (its so near the beginning of the book that this is NOT a spoiler I promise):
Henry time travels against his will, like epilepsy, with no control as to where or when he goes. Most of the time he travels to the past and will occasionally run into his past self. When he was a teenagerand time traveled only a few months and hung out with his teenaged self they hooked up.
You read that right, he had sex with himself. SICK! Niffenegger wrote it like it was natural, like they had nothing else to do, were horny teenagers and didn’t have a girlfriend. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read that scene, so obvi I had to read it out loud for hubby to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding. Hubby’s response? “That’s why you shouldn’t read romance novels.” And I was all, “Dude this isn’t even a romance novel! This would NEVER happen in one of my happily ever after books!”
So from then on I was sooo squicked out by Henry. Which continued when he time traveled and met his wife Clare when she was 6 years old. He time traveled back to Clare’s house numerous time throughout her childhood and while it started out platonic eventually when she was a teenager and he was a 40 year old time traveling man it became romantic. Even though he knew he was married to her in the future it still felt skeevy to me.
Another “con” for me. Lots of people know Henry time travels, well like 10, but that seems like a lot! His dad, his neighbor, a few close friends, his doctor and his work colleagues! And NO ONE said anything to the media. He was NEVER OUTED. No special attention. That was so unrealistic to me. Even when people didn’t believe him, or when he was picked up multiple times by the cops, he never got in trouble.
Last complaint: Henry and Clare were too hipster cool for me, quoting literature, going to indie/punk concerts, being all proletariat-artsy-fartsy, it seemed fake…and if it wasn’t fake then they were tools.
Ok for the good stuff: This is the 4th time travel books I read in 2 weeks and the way and reason Henry time travels is awesome, the best out of all 4. So creative, unique and just…cool. Well sort of a curse for him, but so well done. He has a “rare genetic disorder, Chronic Displacement” and the scenes describing how he time travels, what it feels like, what he can and can’t do, and ultimately how doctors/scientists diagnose it were my favorite ones.
How very sci-fi of me, which is surprising.
I loved how Clare and Henry’s relationship and marriage developed once they met in the “present” time and they were both in their twenties. That’s when I connected the most with their romance, their struggles, and how they created their home and family. Their love seemed tangible to me, and especially with Henry’s special circumstances, it seemed even more powerful, like true soul mates and all that.
So is this a good book? Yes. Did I love it? No, C+ for me. Should you read it? Your call, there are millions of squeeing reviews bowing in adoration out there, so go for it.
For anyone who has read it I have a question slash opinion that is a massive spoiler, check it out after the jump… Continue reading