Basic Summary: Claire and Henry are in love. They met when Claire was 20 and Henry was 28. They also met when Claire was six and Henry 43. You see, Henry suffers from Chrono-Displaced Syndrome, aka he involuntarily travels through his past, present and future at any place and any time. This is further inconvenienced by the fact when Henry time-travels, only his body leaves. Meaning a pile of clothes is left at the previous site, and Henry arrives naked at the new one. Claire, however, is not a time-traveler. You may see the problems arising. Niffenegger centers her novel on the struggles Henry’s disease brings to both himself and to the people he loves.
Kell’s Chatty Review: First and foremost, I should note that I probably would not have willingly picked this one up if it wasn’t for the fact I know I will see the movie. And I must read the novel before the movie, obviously. Also, prior to reading it, I was told by many people that following the storyline could be difficult because of the many jumps back and forth in time. Needless to say, I was prepared for the worst. However, I found the premise of the book fascinating. Time travel is a common theme in many sci-fi and fantasy novels, so the concept isn’t exactly new. The rules and explanation for the time traveling were positively intriguing. Niffenegger set up a story that seems absolutely plausible because of her strict adherence to these rules. I was disappointed, however, in the loose threads that were kind of left dangling from some of Henry’s episodes.
Is it Worth the Read: If you’re looking for a time travel story that is heavy on the sci-fi and fantasy, this one isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a fluffy romance, this one isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a fascinating look at time travel, love and relationships, it’s worth a trial.
I Should Caution, Though: You do have to pay attention to what’s going on date wise, because things tend to circle back around (except for the aforementioned loose ends.) For the most part, I didn’t find the jumping around overly distracting. The plot and writing is good enough to keep you reading even if you’re a little confused.
What this Book Taught Me About Life: Time traveling probably isn’t as cool as it seems.
What I think this Book was Supposed to Teach Me About Life: That love and relationships can surpass all of time (pun intended).
Why I Think this Book is Titled Incorrectly: The Time Traveler’s Wife, as a title, implies to me that this story was (for the most part) about Claire. And I’ll admit that a large chunk of it was (and I have a feeling that the movie is going to really focus on those parts). However, I thought the actual issue of time traveling (both Henry’s issues with it and the medical side of things) played a larger role than How Claire Deals with Being a Henry’s Wife. Of equal importance, I felt, was Henry’s relationships with other people (most importantly Gomez, Ingrid, Alba, Kimy and Kendrick). It really should have been The Time Traveler’s Support System.
What I most want to do after reading this book: Honestly? Learn how to pick a lock.
Is this book teen appropriate: There are a few “adult situations” (my fave phrase for sex), and while the writing isn’t particularly hard to get through, I’m not sure how easy it would be for younger teens to stick with the jumping plot. I think it’s fine for older teens, however.
If I could travel to any time in my life it would be: Any summer in my teen years. If only because I could sleep in and not feel any sort of guilt about it.
Re-Readability Rating: 2. Like I said, this isn’t a book I’d pick up on my own.
Where this book came from: Bought by me!