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The Time Traveler’s Wife Review

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The Time Traveler’s Wife

Published: 2004
Pages: ~519
Completed: Yes
Enjoyed: Mostly

Seriousness: Varied – some scenes are fairly light-hearted, but gets darker as the story progresses
Genre: Romance/Life experience
Difficulty: Okay if you can get your head around the time-traveling
Rating: R16 – It’s a modern work, in comparison to the other things I’ve read, so there’s a bit more “on-screen” things happening. Some violence, some sex (some scenes more explicit than others), and quite a bit of swearing. A lot of the issues dealt with are adult ones – intimacy, health, procreation, etc.

Recommend: Yes

Up next … The Wasp Factory. It may be a while before I can get my hands on a copy, though.

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Posted by on August 7, 2010 in Review, Time Traveler's Wife

 

Ambitious work

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Amazingly, both myself and Rose Red managed to finish The Time Traveler’s Wife in about a week and a half, despite fighting over who gets to read it, and the fact that it’s over 500 pages. Fortunately, those pages are very readable, and the text is not too dense (500 pages is not always 500 pages).

It’s a weighty tome in more ways than one: for a first book, it covers a lot of ideas. An interesting conceit (protagonist suffers from uncontrollable time-traveling) is used to introduce issues of relationships, marriage, free-will vs. predestination, abortion, adoption, unrequited love, genetic modification, lies, phobias, family, and that’s just off the top of my head. I am glad to say, however, that the tone is rarely heavy-handed or preachy – characters are just presented as dealing with real problems and not necessarily having a clear answer to them (different characters make different choices without clear indication of which way works better).

It is a very interesting read if you can cope with the occasionally-random time-frame. The book follows a sort of chronological order of the relationship from Henry’s perspective (Clare’s is different – after meeting her when she’s 20 he later travels back and meets her at age 6, so she’s known him longer than he’s known her), but jumps about in order to present relevant past/future details at the point where they are most relevant (e.g. the traditional flashback to explain a character’s motivations).

Having finished, I found it interesting learning a little about the author from the biography in the back of the book, and getting some idea of where the inspiration for some details of the work come from (for example, the author has been heavily involved in book-binding and paper making, leading to Henry and Clare’s occupations of librarian and papier mache sculptor respectively). I also speculate (though it’s rather a leap given the information I have) that a lot has been influenced by her parents experiences (dealing with things like WW2 and the great depression).

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2010 in Time Traveler's Wife

 

The book of the film

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It’s not usually a chicken/egg conundrum. Novelisations of movies are, invariably, awful. Movies based on a book can be (very) good, but can also turn out badly (thought it’s often a matter of opinion – see They Changed It Now It Sucks).

Regardless of whether a story was book-then-movie or movie-then-book the two versions are certainly going to be different. Some things work brilliantly in a book, but just don’t translate to the screen, and vice-versa. One is visual, one is lingual.

Okay, so why am I mentioning this? And what’s it got to do with The Time Traveler’s Wife? Well, I had seen the film version (fairly recently) before reading the book. It’s been interesting doing it that way around compared to something that I’d read first and then seen a film of.

Pros

  • With the film, you’re not concerned about what has been changed/cut out
  • When you later read the book, you’ve still got new details of the story to discover

Cons

  • You get biased by the look/portrayal of the actors
  • With the book, you know what’s going to happen

Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I’ve found novelisations of films (written after-the-fact) to be uninteresting – you already know how the story plays out, and nothing new has been added.

How do you feel? Book first, or movie first? By all means add more pros/cons in the comments.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2010 in Time Traveler's Wife