The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is one of those epic love stories that make you feel a little underwhelmed by your own relationships. I mean, my husband and I met at a party, dated, fell in love and ta-da, here we are. However, Henry and Clare are practically consumed by each other. Clare waits for Henry most of her life, either to meet up with him in the present or wait for him to come back when he's gone traveling. Henry is so consumed by Clare that he is repeatedly pulled back to visit her throughout her life. I loved that despite their great magical love, there is a sense of normalcy there. They fight, get mad and make mistakes. It's not all hearts and flowers and romance. I think it makes the characters more realistic, other than that little time traveling aspect of course.
One issue I had with the story is the fate vs free will theme. In the book, everything has basically already happened. Therefore anything you choose to do is not really a choice because you've already chosen. Make sense? Yeah, not really. Henry can't change anything in the past because it's already happened. When Henry comes back and visits Clare as a child, he's already married to her in his present. So, she can't not marry Henry in her future because she already did it. It seems as though in this particular story, one is not able to change their mind. Who is to say that if Henry never visited her as a child that she would have wanted to marry or even date him when they met as adults. Her entire life was influenced by his visits and that takes quite a bit of her free will away from her. I mean, it works out for them and it makes for a good book bt the idea of it bothers me. I like to feel as though I am in control of my own destiny, not that my future is mapped out in advance for me. That irked me a little but not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the story. It is just fiction after all.
I've seen the movie adaptation and I think it was fairly well done. The movie is basically a sanitized version of the book. They changed a few things to make it more big screen friendly but they also eliminated several of the less savory aspects of the book. It's like the screenwriter went through with a red pen and just crossed out anything unpleasant that wouldn't severely impact the storyline. I'm glad that I finally read the book and got the whole story and not just the glossed over Hollywood version.
I would recommend the book to anyone looking for a nice, romantic story. Even at 500+ pages it was an easy, quick, and fun read.
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