Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

This evening our Lincoln Park Book Group will be discussing The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. While I had expectations that the book would be a good read based on its popularity my expectations were not met. There are several reasons for this. Foremost, I really felt that the writing and the characters were flat. There was minimal character development,
no depth of feeling (except briefly in very few spots), and the time travel 'gimmick' was not well developed (at least not for someone who spent many years of his youth reading 'real' science fiction). I was never able to believe Henry and Clare were ever "in love" (in lust, perhaps), but I found that no tenderness or maturity of feeling ever emerged. I often had to check back to the beginning of the narrative to see who was talking. To me that is very poor character development, something that is intrinsic to a good book.

Furthermore, a main point that bothered me was the fact that when the characters are young in the book, 20-30, they seemed like they were much too old and serious for people that age. Looking back at the glowing reviews I wondered with over 500 pages of repetitive vignettes, how can people claim they "didn't want it to end"? Consider me one reader who wished it had ended much, much sooner. I would not even have bothered to finish it if I was not reading it for a book group. Overall, this book has a basic idea that has the potential to be interesting, but is not due to very poor execution.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Mariner Books. 2004.

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