When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six. Impossible but true, because Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. Henry and Clare's attempts to live normal lives are threatened by a force they can neither prevent nor control, making their passionate love story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable. The Time Traveler's Wife is a story of fate, hope and belief, and more than that, it's about the power of love to endure beyond the bounds of time.
I’d always been mildly intrigued by the premise and cover of The Time Traveler’s Wife, and my interest in reading it was piqued a few years ago when I heard it was made into a movie. Once I started mentioning to friends that I planned to read it, 9 out of 10 people referenced how hard Niffenegger's novel made them cry. Suffice it to say, when I finally picked up The Time Traveler’s Wife over Christmas break, the bar was set unusually high. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a well-crafted story that is worth reading, even if it didn’t gut me the way I thought it might.
Niffenegger’s debut novel is one to be savored and carefully read. The narrative literally skips around throughout time, making it hard to follow Henry and Clare’s adventures at first. It took me about 200 pages before I fully understood, and by the time I got there I was not only impressed but engrossed by the story.
While I have no real issues with this book, for me the hype surrounding it stopped me from loving it. And honestly? This is my fault. Maybe my expectations for this book would’ve been more realistic had I not asked all of my friends what they thought of this book. I really didn't know what to make of the premise or what type of book it would be, so I kept asking others about it. Even though I sometimes pick up books and love them based on friend recommendation, this was a situation (and these do arise occasionally) where hearing about other people’s opinions of a book totally backfired for me.
The ending of this book still warmed my heart. I still The Time Traveler's Wife is a book that’s worth reading if you want a love story that is both different and literary. My high expectations just made me feel like a piece of this book was missing for me, and I’m not quite sure what that piece would be.
Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.