Sunday, June 21, 2009

Guest Post from The Bumbles: The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

Please join me in welcoming Molly from The Bumbles. She has very graciously agreed to do this guest post for me while I am traveling. I've been reading and following Molly and Andy's blog for about six months now, and I can honestly say the day is not complete unless I have been entertained by them in some way. You may recognize their blog name because they are the host of the Monday Movie Meme that you see on my blog each week. They are also the world's biggest Red Sox fans, they are prolific readers, excellent photographers, music lovers, they love to travel (Molly writes for a travel blog)...Molly was even so kind to recommend the world's most comfortable shoe, which I promptly went out and purchased for my Poland trip. If you have not experienced their blog, please do so. Tell them I sent you! So on with the review...heeeeere's Molly!


Clare Abshire has an interesting way of finding a husband. She meets him in a meadow at her childhood home when she is 6 years old….and he is 36. Except they are really only 8 years apart, so not as creepy as it sounds. This is all due to the wonders of time travel - something that Clare’s husband, Henry DeTamble, is afflicted with.

If you are willing to treat The Time Traveler’s Wife like an episode of Lost, where you suspend all disbelief, stop trying to make sense of time travel guidelines, and let author Audrey Niffenegger take you along for the ride, you will discover a very passionate tale about the destiny of these soul mates and the strength that love can provide through all kinds of obstacles.

Not being a big fan of romance, or fantasy, I was leery of this book. However, it is not a mushy love story hidden beneath some sci-fi jargon as I had feared. The introductions to Henry & Clare are a bit awkward, but once the book gets going Niffenegger engages the reader so strongly with each of them individually that you watch them grow into a unit you can’t bear to see divided.

The book is told entirely from Henry & Clare’s individual perspectives, alternating back and forth between them and giving us the date and their ages at each point along the way. They are told in short sections which makes it easy to read in brief intervals. Niffenegger writes the male perspective equally as well as the female which always makes it easier to relate to the characters on their own terms. The time travel storyline works creatively to move the plot along by weaving pieces into the overall picture to fill in the blanks. And the separation that Henry’s time traveling causes highlights the conviction of their relationship - which is the true message of the book.

Henry & Clare do their best to create a normal life with their friends, their careers, and their family as Henry is constantly disappearing from their present. Sometimes he is gone for a few moments. Other times he is gone for days. They never know where time will bring him or for how long. But often he is visiting Clare in the past - her past - for his presence in it only becomes known to him in his future. Knowing that Henry has left her as she is now to be with her as she remembers him from her childhood is of some comfort to her. But their relationship could give separation anxiety a whole new meaning.

Through all the challenges time presents them, they never lose their passion for each other to the core. They know each other’s thoughts, feelings, actions, and needs so seamlessly. In fact, comparing your own relationship to that of Henry & Clare’s could make you feel very inferior. But then again, you probably haven’t known your significant other in their past, their present and their future, all at the same time. Sometimes that knowledge is dangerous, but Clare & Henry do whatever they can to persevere. After all, it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

4 out of 5 stars


Unknown said...

The Time Travellers Wife is one of my all time favourite books. It is one of the only books which has ever made me cry. I watched the film trailer for the first time this week, and it made me cry too! I am really hoping the film is as good as the trailer makes out.

Beth F said...

I really loved this book. It makes for a great audio because there is a make and female reader. I can't wait to see the move.

Lauren said...

I, too, was tentative about this book. I really don't like time travel as a plot device - it just gets messy, but this book pulled it off REALLY well. I loved the story and was quite addicted to it up to the end. Admittedly, I didn't love the ending for many reasons (not just that it made me cry!), but I still enjoyed the book quite a bit.

Melody said...

I think I'm the last person to read this book! After hearing so many raves about this one, it looks like I've to get this book fast!

Literary Feline said...

I saw a trailer for the movie just the other day and was so excited. I still haven't read the book though, can you believe it? I need to do that before the movie comes out. I'm going to try anyway! You've definitely got me motivated to get started on it, Molly! Thanks for the post!