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Reviews of Time Traveler's Wife, the (2003)

Review by michael a draper (2010-10-26)
"The Time Traveler's Wife" opens with Claire Abshire, age twenty, and Henry De Tamble, age twenty-eight, meeting by accident at her library. Claire immediately recognizes Henry from her past but Henry is at a point of time travel where he hadn't met her yet. He suffers from Chrono-Displacement Disorder and moves through time without control.

Claire is a sweet woman who reminds me of a special next door neighbor or the girl you fell in love with in the eighth grade. Her love for Henry is intricately described so that the reader knows just what she is feeling as she finds her love, as he had promised she would, in the past.

The novel moves back and forth between other times and is told from both character's points of view.

We are also privy to Clair's and Henry's difficulties with time travel. Henry admits that he saw a young child die in an accident and wanted to go back in time so he could warn the child's mother to be more careful. However, he has learned that with time travel, he can't change history.

Claire has difficulty in keeping Henry's appearances secret. When she is still a young girl, she has to find food and clothing for Henry. When she becomes a teen threr is also the loneliness when Henry is not with her. She also feels segregated from her friends since at that moment, she couldn't tell her friends about Henry.

There is difficulty in keeping track of the character's ages at the various times since this happens out of sequence. The character's age at various scenes, is provided by the author but it does get confusing.

The love story was a pleasure to read and seeing how the characters overcame the difficulty with time, was interesting. I did feel that at times the story meandered but for originality and strong characters, this was a superior novel.

(This review refers to the 2003 version titled “The Time Traveler's Wife”)

Review by wombat (2006-07-27)
I just now finished this book and it has left me feeling shaken and raw. From the moment i picked it up i was hooked, but it just pulled me in so deeply. These characters will be with me forever. There isn't much i could say specifically about it that wouldn't ruin the reading of it, but if you can just trust me on this one- READ IT.

Review by johnafair (2006-07-08)
This turned out to be an interesting book, though it took a while to be gripped by it.

The encounters between Clare and Henry are presented (more-or-less) chronologically from Clare's perspective, though each encounter/chapter is broken down between Clare and Henry's perspectives, with a sub heading showing the ages of the pair and year of the encounter - this becomes important in keeping the narraative straight.

All in all, this is an interesting take on the effects of the strange relationship that grows up between Clare and Henry as he meets her at various times during her childhood while not giving her enough clues to enable her to find him in her current life.

Review by bookworm89 (2005-11-13)
I don't normally read this kind of books, but hey, after just reading the two first pages I was hooked and compelled. I could not finish reading, and finished this book in only 2 days, despite the fact that this book is 500+ pages.

What if you could travel in time and meet your wife when she was a child, her unknowing you being her husband in the future? This is the story of a remarkable couple - Henry and Clare, who married when he was 31 and she 23, but first met when he was 36 and she was six. Throughout this book, you are about to experience their everyday life in a unchronological order, how they live their life in expecting the unexpected.

This book is so unlikely all others you would have read... this is no love story, neither is this a science fiction, fantasy, whatever. It is all simply a beautifully carved story that happens to be about two unlikely people - Clare and Henry. This is simply a book that all of you need to read...

Review by potollomuck (2005-03-14)
What an out of whack fantasy story. I have to admit this is a compelling romance story of sorts, but my stubborn, linear, and chronological mind keeps me from enjoying the many contraditory holes of the story. If I were to revise the story, I would make the time traveller not have the memory of his trips in time, this would make the story much more convincing as well as exciting to me, at least.

Review by mojosmom (2004-06-30)
What if you disappeared occasionally, to another time and place, spontaneously, randomly? What if you were married to a man to whom that happened? This is the story of Henry deTamble, who suffers from Chromo-Displacement Disorder, and his wife, Clare, who first met him when she was six and he 36, and married him when she was 23 and he 31, and their attempts to lead a normal life while always expecting the unexpected.

What an amazing book! Niffenegger grabs you and holds you for 500+ pages. I read this in 3 days, the writing is so compelling. I don't ordinarily like books that are written in the present tense, but in this book, narrated by both Henry and Clare, it is absolutely right.

For me, the book carried the added attraction of referencing people and places I know about, including the mention of an organization to which I belong. A good part of the book takes place at the Newberry Library, one of my favorite places. (One error that could have been avoided if the author shared her character's disorder: the two guys who sold libretti at the Opera House retired, and by the time of the episode in this book had been succeeded by two young women.)

If you don't like science fiction and so are avoiding this book because you've heard it's about time travel, pick it up and read it. It's not science fiction, it's not fantasy, it's a finely crafted piece of literature about life and love, about dealing with crisis and with day-to-day living. You really all need to read this book.

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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