Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

I need to thank the lovely Jenners for introducing me to this book. I read her review here and became obsessed with finding it. This was well before I learned about the movie.

This is going to be the movie/book comparison entry for the Take a Chance Challenge. I know the rules say to see the movie within a few days of reading the book, but the movie isn't being released until August 14th and this book was so good I couldn't put it down.

How good is this book, you ask? It's among my top five books for the year, and it's safe to say I'd rank it as one of the best books I've ever read.

Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire share a very romantic, yet very unconventional, love affair. Clare meets Henry in the meadow of her house when she is six, and soon learns that Henry, who is 36, is the man she will eventually marry.

How is this possible? Henry is a time traveler. He is a CDP--a Chrono-Displaced Person. He has no control over when and where he time travels. He visits Clare at various stages of her childhood and adolescence, but is never the same age when he visits. Sometimes he's in his thirties, other times he's in his forties. Clare, however, ages naturally, in real-time.

The romance between a time-traveling man and a woman who grows up in real time has its share of obstacles. Clare waits very patiently for Henry, and rarely dates in high school and college. Those around her can't understand why, and Clare, of course, can't explain that she's waiting for a man that will eventually appear out of nowhere. And how does Clare explain to her family and friends Henry's unique ability?

It's difficult for me to summarize this book for several reasons. First of all, it goes back and forth between flashbacks and the present day. You really have to pay attention to the dates in each chapter as Niffenegger tells the story. It's also told from two different perspectives, Clare's and Henry's. They alternate the narration in each chapter. Finally, there are plot elements from the past that indicate what will happen in the future, but you won't know about it until something crucial happens. Trust me on this one.

Overall, however, it is a very, very well-written book, and you can really feel the deep connection that Clare and Henry share. It's very rare that a book moves me to tears, but this one succeeded.

The most amazing part for me, though, was that this was Audrey Niffenegger's first book. It is just so well-crafted, so imaginative, and so thoughtful. She is incredibly detail-oriented; her characters, even the minor ones, are so rich with personality and emotion.

The Time Traveler's Wife is a book that will stay with you for a very, very long time after you've finished it. I simply cannot articulate how much I loved this book.

(I just hope that the movie is as good; I don't want to be disappointed.)

This is the latest entry in my 2009 100+ Reading Challenge, my 2009 Read Your Own Books Challenge, and my 2009 Chunkster Challenge. Click on the buttons in the right sidebar for archived lists of all of my reading challenges!


Padfoot and Prongs - Good Books Inc. said...

Hey great review! We can't wait for the movie to come out either! I loved jennner's review as well.
We are actually giving away a copy of this book at our site if you or any one you know is interested in winning a copy!

Mammatalk said...

Oh! I love this book! I read it 4 years ago and again this past year with my Book Club. We are now having a Mommies Night Out to watch the movie. I am so glad you liked it!

Joanne said...

I adore this book! I think it's safe to say it is a book you will never forget -- it stays in your heart forever!

Anonymous said...

I read this book several months ago and LOVED it. I suggested it for a book club that I'm part of and unfortunatley the ones who read it weren't thrilled with it and the others simply didn't read it :( Too bad too!
I'm not sure I want to see the movie (though I"m sure I will) because I'm worried it'll ruin the book...but maybe that's not possible!

Thanks for stopping by and saying hello ;)

drollgirl said...

i have this book and i have not yet started it yet. i must say the size is a bit DAUNTING! but i am going to do it, starting next week!

Ashley @ Ashley's Library said...

I really want to read this book! The movie looks interesting so I might end up seeing it before I actually read the book. I'm glad to hear that you liked it though!

Jenners said...

I'm so glad you felt like I did about it -- it truly is one of my all-time favorite books. And I cried at the end too. It is just amazing how she managed to pull it off -- and I liked how she engaged your brain but kept all the threads together. I'm hoping the movie works out but I'm nervous.

Sarahlcc said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book after your review. It came to my attention a few days ago when I realized that, once again, a movie had been made from a book. And I like to read the books first!

I hope your visit with the Dr. goes well.....

Janna Bee said...

Love this book, it haunts you afterwards... so moving. The previews for the movie look promising too!