Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Book Addict Reviews: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's Wife: Unabridged Edition

Genre: Romance, Science-Fiction
Order Online: Amazon.com
Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 2 stars
Bought this book after a friend told me about it.

In A Nutshell:
There were many positive aspects to this book.  Audrey Niffenegger is an excellent writer whose use of details and voice draw the reader into the story.  However, I felt this book took too long to get to the action.   If I had not been dedicated to reading it and reviewing it, I do not know that I would have finished it.  The book also left me with more questions than answers, which may be part of why I would not want to read it again.  I was not very satisfied with the story. 

I am conflicted.  As soon as I finished The Time Traveler’s Wife, I could not decide how I felt about this book.  Audrey Niffenegger is an excellent writer.  Her use of details brings the reader right into the story.  You feel like another person in each scene.  Her writing style and the voice that she used changed with the change in the narrating character.  These changes were further complimented by the use of two voices in the audiobook. 

My conflicted feelings about the book center on a few of items.  First, I felt the book was too long.  The first part of the book focused on Henry and Clair’s time together in the meadow.  I began to feel frustration on Clair’s behalf when Henry would allude to future events without much detail and tell Clair she would have to wait.  I wanted to scream, “Then why did you bring it up!!”  Rather than waiting, I wanted the story to move on and let something actually happen to move the story along. 

Second, Clair seemed to keep all intimate or romantic relationships at a distance because she was waiting for Henry.  He had, after all, told her that in the future they would be together.  I found myself asking if it was really fate or true love or just expectation that brought Henry and Clare together.  Would they have even met or noticed each other if he had not time traveled to her?

Third, as I had questions and doubts about whether Henry and Clair would have ended up together without the effect of time travel, I began to wonder how the time travel affected those around them.  For insance, what about Gomez and Charisse?  It comes up repeatedly that Gomez has been in love (or at least infatuated) with Clair for a long time.  Charisse is so concerned that she asks Henry over coffee if Gomez is going to stay with her in the future?  Even after years together and three children, Charisse does not feel that Gomez always prefer her over Clair.  Would Gomez and Clair have been a couple if Henry had not time traveled?

What about Ingrid?  Henry and Ingrid had a relationship that may have been described as toxic.  But Henry does not end his relationship with Ingrid until Clair exclaims that his time traveling self told her they were married in the future.  Would he have stayed with Ingrid if Clair had not told him that his time travelling self had said that they were married? What effect would that have had on the choices that Ingrid made.  Now, I am not blaming Henry for Ingrid's choices, but I do think it is important to note that his decision affected more than himself and Clair.

I am not saying that Henry and Clair did not love each other.  I think it was clear that they had a fairly happy life together filled with love, but is that the life they would have had without the effect of time travel?  Would the life they would have had without time travel better or worse or the same as the life they had with time travel?  Would the lives of the people around them been better or worse or the same as the life Henry had not been a time traveler?  More than anything, I think my conflicted feelings come from ending the book with more questions than answers.  It left me feeling a little dissatisfied.

After reading this book, I had to go out and get the movie.  I will post my review of the tomorrow:
The Time Traveler's Wife
Also, I liked Audrey Niffenegger's writing style so I would like to try another of her books:
The Night Bookmobile


  1. I haven't read this, but heard it is fabulous! I am reading Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons, and it is one of the best I have read in a while! Thanks for the follow, following back!

  2. I did not read the book, but had heard from people who liked it. I did see the movie and had a similar feeling towards the movie that you did about the book. Only the book sounds more interesting. I'm curious what you are goint to think of the movie. I will be on the lookout for that review. Thanks!! Thanks for finding me so I could find you! I'm now following you as well!