Becky’s Two Hundred and Fifty-Fifth Book Review: “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger was quite the mind-fuck. It is a love story between Henry and Clare. Henry can time travel, and he visits Clare throughout her childhood. When current day Clare meets current day Henry, she has all these memories of him and he has no idea who she is, so yeah – the book is kind of a mind-fuck. Nevertheless, I found it very entertaining.

The book goes back and forth between Henry and Clare as the narrator. I enjoyed getting the perspective of each half of a couple. And the thing is, Henry isn’t really a good person, and I spent a lot of the book wondering why Clare was with him. Everyone has flaws, of course, but the lack of remorse that Henry displays for all of the things that he does, it’s a little much to accept. It seemed like Niffenegger makes excuses for Henry’s questionable and often time illegal behavior. I had trouble accepting his reasoning and the way that Clare falls for Henry is a little weird.

At the same time, you have to understand how abnormal Henry’s life is. Time travel is not something that he can control, he just finds himself pulled away sometimes. He doesn’t think of a time and place and boom, he just suddenly is gone. When he time travels, he arrives in an unknown place and time with nothing with him. Imagine having to cope with that, the not knowing, the continuous shock to your system, and all while you’re completely nude. When you think about it that way, Henry’s behavior is more forgivable. “There’s something wrong with me. I get dislocated in time, for no reason. I can’t control it, I never know when it’s going to happen, or where and when I’ll end up. So in order to cope, I pick locks, shoplift, pick pockets, mug people, panhandle, break and enter, steal cars, lie, fold, spindle, and mutilate. You name it, I’ve done it.” (The Time Traveler’s Wife, pg 143). His behavior is slightly more acceptable when you think about it that way. Or at least understandable.

Would I recommend this book? Yes and no, it was a really entertaining read and I’m very glad that the way the book is broken up is labeled so you know how old Clare and Henry are at any given moment. I had trouble putting down the book, it was really well written and there is no doubt that I was entertained. But I did have trouble liking Henry as a person. I almost think that if I were to read it again I would more easily be able to identify how I feel about the book. I would definitely pick up another work by Audrey Niffenegger. I have no indecision about how I feel about her writing, for that alone I think most people would enjoy the crazy ride that this book was.

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