By Heather Clark
If you want a confusing and depressing love story “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is the book for you.
A sci-fi romance, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” follows the story of Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire, th novel explores what it would be like if a significant other was there and, suddenly, disappeared. No warning, just a pile of clothes laying on the floor. Henry is a time traveler. He doesn’t understand the full extent of his condition and neither does Clare, his sometimes wife, sometimes girlfriend, and sometimes stranger.
The novel opens up with Henry visiting a library in Chicago and Clare, not realizing they haven’t met yet cares him. Then, as she explains, it becomes more clear him that she has known him her entire life, because of his “condition.”
While the book is a great read, it can be difficult to follow at times. Each section is set with a heading that consists of point of view, as the book bounces back and forth between Henry and Clare, date, time, location, Clare’s age, and Henry’s age. But, if a reader really immerses themselves in the novel, it won’t be as difficult to follow.
Through her writing, Niffenegger really conveys the love these two share for one another, as well as the loss whenever Henry’s time traveling condition takes him away from Clare. Often, emotion is something very difficult to convey without making the novel seem too cliche. Niffenegger is able to capture real emotion without making it cliche and annoying, considering she was inspired to write the novel after she went through a series of really bad relationships. When Henry leaves, the reader can really feel Clare’s pain and anguish, especially if they’ve gone through a similar situation, not the time traveling (obviously) but the loss of a significant other due to something out of their control.
Character development is a strong suit of this novel as well and, as the novel bounces around from past, present, and future, gives a further understanding to each of the characters feelings. The reader will understand why Henry is hesitant with Clare but also why Clare feels the way she does.
Just as people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, don’t judge “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by its movie. The film couldn’t convey all of the details of the original story and really loses that emotional value the novel so expertly has, as it often does when novels are turned into movies.
The book itself is unique in the way it doesn’t have a linear timeline. It bounces around, never staying in one place or time for very long. But it creates a comprehensive storyline that really grabs the audience’s attention.
Overall, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is a wonderful emotional roller coaster that goes well with a glass of wine and a box of tissues.