Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Date Finished: 16/07/12

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : No

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

I really didn’t have any idea about this book before I set out to read it, aside that many people had watched the film and found it sad and that it is meant to be a very good read.  It was nice to have no expectations and to really form my own opinion.

The whole idea is very interesting and superbly well thought-out – I was very impressed.  I found the plot brilliant and very captivating.  I read from just over halfway through to the end of the book over the last two days because I couldn’t put it down which shows how ensnared I was.  I am yet to watch the film (although I will asap) so I don’t know how it compares, but I certainly did not get the “heart-wrenching sadness” bit.  I mean, it was sad at the end, of course, but nothing unbearable and it ended well.  Maybe the film ends slightly differently to the book.

The characters were also seriously good.  Clare and Henry are two people I don’t think I’ll forget in a long time and Niffenegger develops them very well over the course of the book.  All the other supporting characters are interesting too, like Gomez & Charisse, Kendrick and Alba.  It was very easy to picture the characters and I hope the film will live up to my interpretations.  A lot of the characters were quite realistic but there were still some, like Ben and Gomez, who seemed pretty fake to me.

I really enjoyed the way Niffenegger writes and the structure was complex but good.  Her prose is great and even though Americanisms often annoy me, it is a book written by an American set in America, so they are pretty justifiable!  Also, the way each different section of time in the book is titled with the date and how old the respective characters are is really helpful, as it is pretty confusing to keep track of, especially at first.  Having said that, after the first 100 pages or so, you just seem to accept that the book is non-chronological, and it stops being an issue.

I noticed that Niffenegger herself was actually born in South Haven, like Clare and I think this makes the whole book very personal.  I got feelings of Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird (which coincidentally I am reading next).  I think this was due to the use of the first person and the sense that the author was putting a lot of themselves and their experiences into the story.  It is a lovely feature for a book to have, in my opinion.

Overall, I really really enjoyed reading this book and I think it is one that most people should have on their shelves – it is easy to read and has a very powerful storyline.  Not one of my favourite books ever, but maybe one day I will re-read it (once I have forgotten everything that happens) and I am sure I will spend a lot of time recommending it to people over the next few years.

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