Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

For the 2nd time in a month, I am reviewing a book that pretty much everyone and their mom has already read. It was a new release back when I was working part-time at B&N. I remember picking it up, reading the synopsis, and thinking - this is not for me. It just seemed a little bit too science fictiony. Which is so not my genre. But lately, I've been hearing all about this book. I've read a few posts about the book and it's been on a few blogger's 'must read' lists. So I decided to give it a shot. If you are not familiar with the book, "The Time Traveler's Wife" tells the story of Henry, a time traveler, and his wife Clare. You should be prepared to be a bit confused at first. Henry can travel backwards and forward in time, and he can be any age when he travels. So sometimes he'll go back to 1991 and be 30 years old. Or he could go back to 1991 and be 8. And sometimes he will go backwards or forward in time and visit himself - so 8 year old Henry & 30 year old Henry will hang out together at times. But once you get your head around this, the book flows very smoothly, and 500+ pages seem to fly by. At least that was the case for me - I think I read it in a span of about 4-5 days?

It's interesting to think about Henry's ability to time travel. I asked myself - would I want to do this? I often joke that I wish I had a crystal ball, but in reality - I don't think it would be ideal to know what is going to happen in your future. Henry knew what was going to happen, but he could never do anything about it. He couldn't change the course of events, so the knowledge really wasn't much of a benefit for him. He also had to be careful about how much he told Clare about their future - he didn't want to upset her by sharing things that would happen, which put a strain on the relationship at times.

Clare spends so much of her life waiting. Waiting for Henry to return from his time travels. Waiting to find out what Henry already knows about their future. Will they have children? Will Henry live a full life or die prematurely?

One of my favorite part of the book is actually a poem that was included right before the dedication page. Here it is:

Love after Love by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Isn't it beautiful? It represents the theme of this book so well and is a poem that most people can probably relate to. I know I can. Haven't we all sort of 'lost ourselves' at some point in our lives? It seems like, at some point in your life, you go through something that leaves you feeling like a shell of who you previously were or who you will be in the future. But then you heal and one day you catch yourself laughing or smiling and think to yourself - 'Thank the Lord, I am back.'

If you haven't read this yet, it is worth checking out. But you better hurry - the movie comes out this summer! Rachel McAdams plays Clare and Eric Bana plays Henry - it will be interesting to see how they make this book into a movie. With all the time traveler and difference in ages during the time travel, it seems like it will be a little bit tricky!
Oh and I was excited to learn that this is the August selection for a local bookclub called "Books and Bars". I've wanted to go to one of their meetings for months and now there is no excuse for me to not go since I have already read the book!

1 comment:

Amber said...

I read this book a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I wouldn't call it a "pageturner" necessarily, but I did thoroughly enjoy it and can't wait for the movie! That poem is very cool, I've never noticed it before!

PS: I finished My Sister's Keeper a few days ago and COULD NOT BELIEVE the ending. Absolutely did not see that coming at all!! Can't wait for the movie!