Category Archives: Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Part 4

Wow! I made it through the month!

This is the final part of my/our journey with the Time Traveler’s Wife. From reading everybody else’s thoughts on this, the one thing I think we can all agree on is that whatever we each think of the characters, the author has done a terrific job in making us all feel like we’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster.

It’s not very often that I get this feeling with books, usually because I’m such a slow reader so it’s really difficult to get in to a book fully when I only read a handful of pages a day. Every now and then though, I find a book that I just can’t put down. This book was one of them and I got completely engrossed in the lives of the characters. I felt joy, anger, frustration and ultimately sorrow for both Henry and Clare.

As Henry’s time draws to an end he completely loses control. He knows it’s coming, he’s confined to a wheelchair and he has no idea where he will jump to next. As the time draws nearer, we find Clare not really knowing what to do next while she waits.

Henry, in his sudden desperation, tries to leave parts of himself behind knowing that he doesn’t jump into the future too much. He records the videos for Alba, he teaches Clare to cook and then finally, and this is the part that I thought made him a bastard, he tells Clare he will be back to see her in the future but doesn’t tell her when so again she ends up waiting for him.

I can totally understand why he did it, he’s trying to reassure her that all will be well but unfortunately, it just doesn’t work out like that. That one line in his letter essentially ruins her life forever.

The end of the book made me think of this great song Watch Over You by Alter Bridge.

Snow is on the ground, Winter’s come
You long to hear my voice, but I’m long gone

To round up then, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and being able to discuss it both with the missus and putting it online for others to read. I even got a compliment from her mum which is great because I was always really crap at English when I was at school and she’s a former English teacher!

I think it is a tragic story but actually on Henry’s part. The Clare element was a bit of a downer for me and the book became a bit lost in the self pity sometimes. I wonder if had this been just a story about The Time Traveler would it a) have been much better or b) not sold to the ladies and thus not been such a huge success?!

Either way the author has done a great job at exploring time travel in a non geeky way and getting seemingly ordinary people interested in the possibilities and drawbacks. Possibly for the first time since Robert Zemeckis!

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Part 3

Hello again.

Last week I wrote about my feelings towards Clare because she’s got it easy. I wrote about how easy she has it knowing that Henry is the one for her. How easy she has it when she knows all will be well.

But what if it’s not so easy?!

Imagine having your whole life already planned out for you. You know which college you will get into. You know when you’re going to meet the love of your life and more importantly who that is going to be. You know how you have your coffee before you’ve ever had coffee. You know where you’re going to live.

Imagine feeling like you have very little control over your life.

I’m a huge control freak. I often need to step back a little but try not to go so far back that I’m just an inert lump watching life pass me by. I’m not sure I could stand it.

Henry seems fine with this arrangement most of the time. The other times he just drinks himself stupid! I get the sense that for Henry, there is no past, present or future. It just is. With that in mind, life isn’t planned out for him. You have a rough idea of the things that happen but you’re never really sure when they’re going to happen. And let’s remember, the first time he meets Clare, he’s 28 so he gets a good run of spontaneity.

Clare on the other hand, well she was 6 when she met him. Every decision she has had to make since she was 6 has been based around the life of Henry. Should I date other boys? What’s the point? Should I maybe have a soya latte today? What’s the point? Why are we wasting days on end looking at houses that aren’t the right ones? What’s the point?!

“Don’t you want to see the rest of the house? What about your husband?”
“Oh, he’s already seen it. But yeah, sure, let’s see the house.”

I totally understand her seeming lack of enthusiasm. I think that in life, we only fully appreciate the things we have had to work for. Whilst it’s great that Clare got life handed to her on a plate, imagine feeling like you haven’t earned it, or you don’t want it, or you don’t deserve it. What’s the point?!

We take a lot of things for granted. We complain about our jobs, about the people around us, about the day to day monotony. But then every now and then, something good happens and it feels incredible because we’ve had to put up with a few weeks of crap. Everything tastes so much sweeter when you know you’ve worked for it.

I work from home and have a fairly flexible approach to my work. Some say I have it pretty easy but I’ve worked for 14 years to get this. I’ve worked in dusty factories, 80 hour weeks, windowless basements, out on a farm in winter, been physically threatened by clients. I’ve paid my dues. If I’d known that as I turned 30 I’d be working from home wearing shorts and a tee, would I have bothered? Would I enjoy this freedom as much if instead, I’d just bummed around for a few years, landed this job and then setup office at home?

I’m not sure I would and that’s why not knowing is so much better. Living in hope, fighting, struggling, it’s what makes us who we are. Without that, I fear we’d all be two dimensional like Clare.

Next week will be my final post of this journey so I’ll be talking about how the book ends, how it made me feel on the whole and what I’ve taken from this journey. See you then!

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Part 2

Hey, welcome to Part 2 of my Journey with the Time Traveler’s Wife.

So last week I wrote about how time travel is explored in this novel. My site stats went crazy. Looks like a lot of people out there have an interest in this journey. Say hi! This week I’ll be writing about our female protagonist, Clare.

From what I gather, this book is something a lot of women can identify with. Feelings of loss, suffering, pain etc. I don’t wish to belittle any of that but I am going to give my man’s opinion. Bear with…

It’s interesting that the first few chapters are predominantly about Henry. I found that this gave a lot of depth to Henry as a character right from the start and for a female author to make a male reader really empathise with a male character is brilliant! However, as you read on it slowly turns around and becomes Clare’s tale of woe. She does like to go on doesn’t she?

By the way, it’s apt that they chose Rachel McAdams to play her in the film as I find her really irritating as well!

Hang on, don’t crucify me just yet, let’s look at it this way. When a woman meets a man and starts to fall in love, she takes a chance. She invests herself wholly in the hope that it will pay off and it will last forever, princess in a castle, yada yada, hunky dorey. Clare gets to skip this anxiety. She has been in love with Henry for 14 years. When she meets him in the library, she knows he’s the man for her and at the very least he’ll be around until his 40s.

How many women get that certainty when they meet a fella? Most women (and men) have no idea how long a relationship will last when they start putting the work in, they don’t know where it’s going – they take a leap into blind faith.

When they’re dancing in the club and he’s being a bit of a tool, she does question it but then future Henry comes back (is he from the real future or a parallel universe where she decided not to continue dating him so he had to come back to put her straight? Cause/effect again) and he tells her to bear with. She knows it only takes 5 years to change him into the man she wants him to be.

“Clare, very few people meet their soulmates at age six”

Essentially, stop whining! Imagine you get a mobile phone and you customise the wallpapers, ringtones, put a bunch of apps on there etc. Now I take it away, reset it to factory settings and give it back. It’s the same phone, you know you can get it back to how you like but you just have to put some work into it. It’s not that bad!

Personally, now I’ve finished the book, I ended up not really liking Clare. I’m very much on Henry’s side. There’s only really one part of the tale where he’s a complete bastard but I’ll save that for my final post. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

My feeling throughout the book is that Henry loves Clare much more than she loves him back, and that’s the tragedy for me. Maybe he appreciates it more because for him he’s put the effort in and she’s just been guided into it. Maybe one advantage of investing time blindly in a relationship is that you really feel the reward. It’s not just a pre-made relationship handed to you. Honestly, Henry deserves a bloody medal for putting up with her!

Like I say, the author has done a brilliant job of creating Henry’s character who I feel is far more three dimensional than Clare is. With that in mind, in next week’s post, I will actually be sticking up for Clare so make sure you come back!

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Part 1

Complete with spelling mistake in the title!

The missus decided to take part in Amy Palko’s summer readalong – and as the book was one of my favourite films that didn’t star Jack Nicholson (ten points for naming that reference), I decided to play along too.

What I’ve found interesting about this book is that from the very first page I’ve struggled to put it down. It literally has to be prised out of my hands when the missus turns off the lights. I don’t know if it’s because I saw the film just a few months ago but this book is so magical and romantic. I’m really enjoying it.

This week I’ve decided to focus on the theory of time travel. Time travel, for me, is pretty mind blowing. I get very carried away. If you go back and change an event, it has a direct effect on the future, to the point where you wouldn’t go back to change an event because the original event never happened. But then if you didn’t go back, then it would happen and you would go back and then it wouldn’t happen and so on and so on. This would lead to an infinite number of parallel universes multiplied by the number of people who can time travel.

Almost immediately the author tackles this in two ways.

First, Henry is the only time traveller he knows of. He’s never met another one. Often in time travel fiction you will find a sort of limbo where time travellers hang out in between travelling. Here, we’re limited to just Henry and it helps keep the focus.

Second, we’re given an example in the limitations of free will. It’s only available in the present moment which answers the problem of the happened/not happened loop. You don’t get any of that delayed disappearance of Marty McFly nonsense. If something is meant to happen, it will happen.

It’s very clever in the way she clears this up. The author has clearly done her research/read the wiki article on time travel and decided which of the many literary rules to follow. In this case, probably the simplest which allows her to focus more on the romance.

There are some schools of thought that believe if you were to meet yourself from another time, you’d drop dead. Or to be more precise, your head would explode. Either that or meeting the person you love most in the world (yourself), the inevitable happens. Here, Henry gets down and dirty with himself and gets caught by his old man. Classy.

There’s a definite undercurrent of daddy issues that I’m picking up on. I maybe wrong but there’s an absence, or a distance. As a result, we see Henry travelling back in time a lot to see himself as a child and give him the essential tips that will help him survive as an adult.

Next week I’ll be writing about Clare, the female protagonist, and give a man’s opinion on the matter ….. so stay tuned for that!