The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Summary: Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six. They married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. It seems impossible, but it is true. 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. I was mostly interested in the time travel aspect the of story, so I was more interested in the actual time traveler and less with the time traveler’s wife.
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 science fiction, the story is based 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. Limiting the story to mostly stay Henry and Clare’s past helps the element of time travel stay grounded. 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.
Most times when we think about time travel, it’s about how to change the past to create a better future. The Time Traveler’s Wife made the explicit distinction that Henry was not able to change anything that already happened when he travels through time. I liked that decision 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.
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.
Overall, I 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. Rating: Page Turner