Book Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife
Minutes after finishing the last sentences of the story, I find myself almost into tears. I do not know where to start, or how to start. I still feel the bitter-sweetness this book imparted on my soul. Yes, this book is THAT awesome.
First off: I didn’t actually INTEND on buying the book. I just happened to chance a copy at a bookstore, read the first page, then 5 minutes later, I find myself unable to put the book down. That is how powerful this book is. It grabs you from start to finish. It doesn’t let you go until you are finally so happy and sad, both with tears from your eyes.
A novel can only be truly magnificent if it starts strong and stays strong. If you have that certain vibe as an author, then it would simply not matter whether your story be a short 100-page book, or a book that seems to never end but when it does, you don’t want to finish it. Much like my favorite novel of all time: Les Miserables.
This book talked mostly about the past, the trends back then, the fashion, the history. Though I was ignorant of 70% of the things the author tells about, it didn’t matter since I was happy I was learning something very fresh. Specially the french parts, It got me curious and wanting to learn french now. Which is always a good effect for a book, making the reader grab a certain interest from it.
I found it hard remembering certain past parts of the stories when a chapter relives it some 50-100 pages later or so. But it didn’t completely vanished from my memories, I’d remember what it was about and the gist of it. And I like the fact that certain knots get untied when a chapter relives them. It never failed to satisfy my curious thoughts with pondering questions such as “What happened there?” or “I wonder how and when THIS will be explained?”.
The story is very creative, and very original. This is the first time I’ve read, or even heard of, a book that tells of time-travel romance. I don’t even like reading romance, nor time travel novels. I even thought to myself when thinking of buying the book ” Romance and time travel. I don’t like both genres, I sure wish this book is worth my time AND money. Specially money.” Good thing this book was.
This book taught me something that I was often told to but never really sank in: To cherish your moments together with everyone you love, every second of it. When I put myself into Henry’s (The main character, the time traveler) shoes, so as to have a feel of his life, I noticed how painful it was to relive things you’d rather forget, or to miss important moments of your life all because your body can’t control itself for that one moment. It must’ve been hard and painful. I specially got sad(er) when Henry saw how and WHEN he died. And I thought to myself: I wonder what would it be like to see my own death? would I prevent it? could I prevent it? This part and the rest of the book really made me…down. So down I was afraid of finishing the book.
The story did not just focus on the couple though, it also explored the lives of other people, their friends, families, problems, coping with problems, etc. Specially when Clare (Henry’s wife) tries to live without Henry, someone she’s known all her life (because of time travel). I really felt how sad she was when she was pushed to allowing Henry’s best friend Gomez to make love to her, though they stop at the middle when Clare mutters Henry’s name and Gomez notices that he was just being used, to fill the missing gap that Henry made. Clare imagined Henry’s body, her memories of Henry, the places they made love in. How painful it must be.
I bought the book for 419.00 Philippine pesos (About 10 US dollars) and I now think that its pretty cheap for the story it told me.
I’d like to address the last words muttered by Henry before he vanished permanently:
“Love you…Always…World enough…And time…”
He said that to Clare and his daughter, Alba.
Thank you, Audrey Niffenegger, for this wonderful story. I will never forget it.
PS: I ponder on what “a drop of blood in a bowl of milk” actually means. Blood dissipates in milk, like a cloud, but that’s all I know based on what the book told me. Help?
EDIT: Check this link for a book review made when the book was published. Very stellar, more fulfilling, and expertly done.