LIT REVIEW: THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE

The Time Traveler's Wife Book Cover

Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Publisher: MacAdam/Cage
Publication Date: 2003
Summary: The story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder. Periodically his genetic clock resets, and he finds himself pulled into emotional moments of his life, both past and future.

Three is a Crowd

The Time Traveler’s Wife centers around Clare and Henry’s love story, but the mistress within the relationship is time. Time usually got in the way of Clare and Henry enjoying the best of what their love has to offer to the strength and health of their relationship. I absolutely LOVED how the reader is able to see how Henry’s time travel affects the relationship through the eyes of both Clare and Henry. From the title, you may assume the book is only told through Clare’s point of view, but I am happy to let you know this is not the case. In fact, I’m pretty sure we actually experience the majority of the story through Henry’s point of view, which makes sense since Henry is the time traveler. Even though the title of the book is The Time Traveler’s Wife, the reader (me, I am reader) is mostly interested in how this time travel thing works in the story, which means concentrating the story on the actual time traveler and not the time traveler’s wife.

Science Faction

The most enjoyable part of The Time Traveler’s Wife was how time travel works in general within this story. Although Henry’s time traveling is totally science fiction, I really enjoyed how it was centered in reality. It never felt gimmicky at any point in the story. There were no DeLoreans. There were no Pym Particles … just a person whose genetics made them move through time and space. What helps the element of time travel stay grounded is that it is limited to mostly Henry and Clare’s past. A few times the story takes us to the future, but those times are far and few between, and those events still take place in the realm of Clare and Henry’s reality. Also, most times when we think about going to the past with time travel, we think of how we can change the past to create a better future. What I liked about this story was the explicit distinction that Henry was not able to change anything that already happened when he travels through time. Since the story touches on a very significant event that occurred in September 2001, it was essential to establish that canon in order to maintain some semblance of reality in the story since dates also play an important role in the book.

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Overall Opinion

I enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife from start to almost finished. Like most highly conceptualized books, The Time Traveler’s Wife didn’t really stick the landing with that ending to the story. After the climactic event, the story started to flounder, especially when it comes to the story from Clare’s point of view. However, I would still recommend The Time Traveler’s Wife as a perfect summer read. The story is not fluffy, but it is engaging enough to keep you nose deep while lounging by the pool. Also, unless you are fluent in German and French, it would be most beneficial to read this book on a Kindle for easier translation of some of the foreign language phrases sprinkled throughout the novel.

The Final Grade

Page Turner: Despite the lackluster ending, The Time Traveler’s Wife kept me constantly engaged. My face was in this book every this I had a free moment. I needed to know what was happening next! I also enjoyed the nontraditional storytelling for this traditional boy meets girl love story. If you like a little science fiction in your romance, or if you like a little romance in your science fiction, then add The Time Traveler’s Wife to your TBR, immediately.

Your Turn

So…did you enjoy the ending for The Time Traveler’s Wife? Would you prefer to be the Clare or the Henry in your relationship? Let us know in the comments! |RL

P.S. Want more Time Traveler’s Wife? Read the movie review! Join the quotefest!

2 Comments

    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the review!

      Yeah, I could see where it would be difficult to keep the cute romance vibe with all the other interesting elements of the story going on. I am just glad that the love story felt less weird when I was actually reading the book because reading the publisher’s blurb had me a little worried.

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