Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's Wife

by Audrey Niffenegger
published 2003
completed January 2010

Henry has a genetic disorder, Chrono-displacement, that causes him to involuntarily and unpredictably time travel.  Clare meets Henry for the first time when she is six and he is in his thirties.  Henry doesn't meet Clare for the first time until he is 28.  The story follows the struggles their relationship must endure as a result of Henry's rare disorder.

I saw the preview for this movie July of last year and really was excited to see it.  Once I realized it was a book, I had to read it first.  I refuse to watch movies based on books without having read the book first. I put it on hold at the library and ended up waiting for SIX MONTHS before it was available!  The minute I got it home I started reading it, even though I had company.  I know, rude, but I had waited SO LONG!  I wanted to love this book, but alas, I did not.

I was turned off pretty early on with the language, but I had to finish it so I kept plugging along.  I just couldn't care about Clare.  She really bothered me.  She was so whiny.  I did not like her foul mouth either.  I usually am not bothered by a little foul language, but this book was full of the "f" word and it felt excessive and unnecessary.  It also bothered me that they only way the author could portray their love was through sex.  I have read plenty of other books that were more successful at illustrating a loving relationship without such graphic sex.

The narrative was in first-person and switched between Clare and Henry.  I didn't feel like I could hear their voice through their individual narratives.  There were several times that I had to go back to the beginning of a section to figure out who was narrating because I couldn't differentiate between the two.

A bit of a spoiler here so skip this paragraph if you are planning on reading The Time Traveler's Wife.  I was disgusted with Clare's behavior with Gomez.  He is her friend and she obviously didn't feel about him the way he did about her.  She was reckless and didn't care if she hurt him, his marriage, or her best friend Charisse.  Absolutely despicable.

The premise was compelling, so on that level it may be worth it for some.  I just didn't get sucked into this book emotionally as so many others have.  Don't pick this up if you are offended by graphic language or sex.  I know there are thousands of people who love this book; I just wasn't one of them.

On a side note.  I did eventually see the movie and enjoyed it more than the book.  It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but it was entertaining.  It was rated PG-13, so many of my issues with the book (graphic language and sex) were absent from the movie, which helped make it a better experience for me.


  1. I'm sorry this didn't work for you ... I just loved it!

  2. Oh .. and I meant to tell you, don't worry about this book not fulfilling the challenge. I think it was on at some time so don't feel you HAVE to read another book to fit it in the challenge.

  3. Thanks Jenners! I feel so guilty that I didn't enjoy this book. I think my review came across a little harsh. I didn't think it was terrible but I just didn't get emotional about the book as so many others. I think Niffenegger is a good writer, I think I just didn't connect with Clare so it made it difficult for me. I think I may try Her Fearful Symmetry though.

  4. Kristi, if you didn't like this one you probably won't like Her Fearful Symmetry. I love this book, but was so frustrated by HFS.

  5. Avid Reader--I think I'll give Her Fearful Symmetry a pass. I haven't actually heard much good about it.