Books

I Finally Read Audrey Niffenegger’s Time Travel Romance Novel

Book Review:

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • Strong theme that love transcends time
  • The author is obviously a book lover with her frequent references to literature
  • The author obviously knew her punk bands
  • The tragedies in the book felt poignant, if not as impactful for me as for other people
  • Time travel was handled well–Henry could not change the future

Cons

  • The love story has pedophile vibes sometimes that I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with
  • It made no sense for Henry to be able to keep his job with his condition
  • It should have ended earlier for a stronger impact
  • Uses a derogatory term for lesbian

Observations

  • This book has a ton of sex in it

Review

This book revolves around the love story between Clare and Henry. Henry is a Chrono-Displaced Person, meaning he is frequently slipping between different times. Clare first meets him when she is 6, but he is visiting from a time in which they are already married.

That’s where I got some pedophile vibes. Technically they are already married in a different time, but Henry interacting with Clare at such a young age, even if he doesn’t do anything super sketchy is weird. When Henry time travels, he cannot take his clothes with him, so he arrives naked in different times. I don’t think it was the best idea to do this, because it meant that Claire at a young age saw Henry naked on numerous occasions. That combined with his love for her, only held back until she is 18, seems borderline like grooming. I don’t know how I feel about it–consent was there and she practically begged him to have sex with her when she was no longer underage. Still…it was kinda weird and uncomfortable.

Then it is awkward again when Claire meets Henry again in the present and he doesn’t know her yet, but of course they need to start dating because in the future they are married. It’s the most awkward love story.

Their love seemed for the most part sincere, but it was an extremely physical and sexual love. Not what I tend to read, but not a con at all–just not my style. They have sex pretty often throughout the book, so if that turns you off too, just be aware.

Lots of things trigger Henry to travel through time. “Exhaustion, loud noises, stress, standing up suddenly, flashing light—any of these trigger an episode”–Henry. One of the things that makes their romance so difficult and interesting is that they spend long stretches of time apart.

I hate to be where she is not, when she is not. And yet, I am always going, and she cannot follow.”

Henry

There is danger to Henry’s constant time travel too. He gets arrested various times for public nudity, is injured on occasion, and put into really serious situations. It causes a lot of fear and uncertainty.

I am afraid of water. I am afraid of police. I am afraid of traveling to the wrong place and time and getting hit by a car or beat up. Or getting stranded in time, and not being able to come back. I am afraid of losing you.”

Henry to Clare

It was unrealistic that Henry was able to keep his job despite his habit of appearing naked in the library, his frequent absences, and his vagueness about such matters.

The tragedies in the book made me sad, but I didn’t cry. I saw a lot of other people did cry based on other reviews I read online. This book was a decent read, but I didn’t feel like it deserved the hype, honestly. It would have been better if it ended sooner, because it could have ended with impact but failed to do so.

I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a romance that is outside the norm.

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