The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife

Book - 2003
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Mar 23, 2020

The mechanics, albeit not perfect are understandable and coherent, something very difficult to achieve in a time-travel novel. This is done with limited focus on the science and technicalities behind Henry’s condition, but rather focuses on his humanity. Niffenegger’s ability to prevent the novel from becoming science fiction also plays her part in her ability to write a compelling novel of this size; although technicality-heavy science fiction can become easily tepid after a few hundred pages, this novel, this examination of a life is captivating despite its length.
Ultimately, Niffenegger spends 700 pages building a perfect romance, then destroys it completely. Although the end contains arguably too much foreshadowing, I think that the prolonged agony that is the result of the inevitability of human mortality is as painful as the sense of shock that would have resulted with less foreshadowing. In this way, Niffenegger writes an ultimately pessimistic existentialist novel, in which the main character, like us all know of the inevitability of death and the passage of time, but would like to deny it: “Time is meaningless”.
The two main criticisms seem to be that it is too risque, and that it advocates for determinism.
If it is too risque for your taste, I don’t know what to say. It, however, is not a children’s book, and sexual content is valid in the context of the genre, which leads me to believe that it is more a matter of personal taste and maturity than an objective problem with the book.
The book does not support determinism; there is no such reference, the only things that are portrayed as inevitable are death and the passage of time. I hope that even the most quixotic of idiots can agree to this, no?

Definitely a 5 out of 5.

Nov 27, 2019

Sweet and imaginative. Focuses more on the emotions tied to time travel, rather than the interesting subject itself. For science fiction, it was too wrapped up in "fate" for my taste. 2/5

Sep 21, 2019

...will read, again,....and again, but not sure it will be the same book.

Aug 08, 2019

It's a time-travel book. I quite enjoy time-travel books that have a relationship at the heart of them until I try to explain them, and then the whole construct falls apart. It is the story of Henry, who travels back and forth through time, and his love for Clare, who would become his wife. The structure is confusing at first, with the chronology jumping back and forward, with Henry at varying ages as Clare plods through her allotted life span as Henry appears, disappears and reappears again. I often found myself having to turn back to check the date of the chapter, and there was not enough difference in tone and language between the alternating narratives of Henry and Clare. The book has many references to literature and poetry which don't really rescue it from what is often very domestic and every-day. The ending was a long time coming, with 'just one more chapter' being tacked on to the last.
See my complete review at:

Jun 14, 2019

One of my favorite books

Jan 09, 2019

This was my third time reading this book. It has been years (5+) since I last read it and my rating is going from a 5 star to a 4.5 star. There were some cringe worthy moments in the first half that made me want to re-title the book "The Time Traveler... oh yeah and his Wife." I did still really enjoy reading this book.

Oct 21, 2018

im not crying youre crying

The characters in The Time Traveler's Wife are so intricately made so that you fall in love with them, fearing the danger that is foreshadowed. Henry and Clare's relationship, struggles, and worries are so real and described thoughtfully. I really liked how Audrey Niffenegger switched point of views every once in a while.

Sep 06, 2018

I read this book to fulfil a goal read a book about time travel. it is also part of the Listopia challenge 300 books everyone should read at least once. It was a bit confusing in parts. i watched the movie too. that helped me understand the book a bit better. the book has some more detail though. the movie left out a few of my more favorite sences. i thought it was overall a good book. once you got the hang of the narritive it was a pretty interesting story.

Aug 26, 2018

The first half of the book was an odd mélange of vaguely misogynistic wish-fulfillment fantasy, bad romance novel, and EW EW EW EW EW NO AGH. Henry clearly isn't appreciating Claire for who she is when she's younger, but for who she will be, and his very care about her being child makes it in-my-face squicky for me. He can't stop thinking of her as a sex object, even as a kid. GROSS. I am not at all a fan of this - he could have enjoyed knowing her as a little kid, at least. I could not get past it. I tried.

Then there's the misogyny, where she's so good at sex! And they have sex! A lot! She's the most incredible lay ever! It must be love! And flowers and valentines rain from the ceiling. I'm not a romance reader, so I'm not sure if this is par for the course - in which case I shouldn't read them - or unique to this story, but it didn't impress me at all.

The second half was a half-decent book that was torpedoed by anvil-levels of FORESHADOWING DID YOU SEE THE FORESHADOWING DID YOU HUH HUH and then had an ending that even wimped out on itself. Again, maybe my fandom is making things rough on me, but this plot didn't feel new and fresh or even old but freshly taken. It just felt routine.

Meh. I give it two stars.

Apr 11, 2018

I really like the film, so I had high expectations for the book. Certain parts ended up being a complete slog to get through though, and I felt like the book could have been trimmed by a good hundred (or more) pages. I found myself quickly skimming over entire chapters of boring subplots, and many long winded paragraphs describing things like multiple dreams a character had that night, or entire chapters about a sculpture that is being worked on. There are still a lot of things to like though, the characters, story, and writing are all well done, and the story starts out interesting and really picks up in the last quarter or so of the book again. The film focuses on every interesting plot point, and throws out the boring subplots, so I would say I actually prefer the film to the book (heresey, I know).

ArapahoeStaff15 Jan 30, 2018

The only love story I have ever enjoyed. Elegant prose paired with an innovative plot that can win over even the most romance-resistant readers.

CRRL_MegRaymond Oct 21, 2017

Clare and Henry are madly in love. Even though Henry has an illness that can send him to the past or the future when he gets stressed.

May 05, 2017

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a love story between a time traveler and his wife. This novel is a little bit confusing to read due to the misplace in time and all the incidents around time travelling. What amazed me the most in this novel is the love between Henry and Clare for almost a century: they first met when Clare was six and they are still in love when she was 82. However, this love consists of mostly Clare’s waiting, she is always waiting for Henry to come back from unexpected time travels, she is worried that he will get hurt, she wants him to be with her, forever and ever until the end of time even though it’s impossible. Normally I am not a fan of science fiction, but the romantic elements are brought to full play in this novel, which make it more attractive to me. Relatively speaking, this novel is long with around 550 pages. In general, The Time Traveler’s Wife reminds me of the peacefulness and beauty of love. Rating: 4/5. @Vayne of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

This book is not for ninth graders. Unless you're into super boring things like romance and big words, this book is absolutely boring. I made the hideous decision of buying it, and that's the worst accident I've ever made. I never finished it and don't intend to, and the only reason I tried to read it was because a friend told me to. It was terrible, boring, and just dragging on and on with no regular plot -- at least for the first 40 pages.
- @SecretBlossom of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

I first heard of this book when I was watching its film adaptation. After that, I needed to get my hands on this book. After all, if the movie was THIS good then the book had to be a thousand times better. And it was. There was just something magical about it. In a world where love is materialistic and conditional, this story reminded me that life isn’t perfect but it’s still beautiful. I’m not going to spoil the book for you, but as a warning: read with caution, this book may break your heart (the ending is very bittersweet). I know that many people my age would probably not appreciate this book as much me, but, I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic. 
- @Vaseline of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Apr 14, 2017

You know those books that you can read over and over and never get tired of? That feel like a warm bed when you're reading them? This is that book for me. Although not particularly profound or even good reading, I love this book.

Mar 31, 2017

This is my favorite book!

Mar 12, 2017

Excellent, intelligent, engaging book.
The movie is very well done as well.
I've read and watched it twice so far.

Jan 17, 2017

Loved the book, didn't love the movie

Dec 19, 2016

This book was written wonderfully. I love the foreshadowing and how it weaves details together. It ties all the loose ends and leaves you feeling satisfied. It is a bit long and sometimes confusing to follow, but worth the effort.

Aug 28, 2016

With all the good reviews this book received, I really expected to like it. It is a neat concept. But I found the book so horribly boring. The author explained in great detail random portions of the story, such as a game of chess. Clare and Henry take turns narrating but their voices are interchangeable so that sometimes I had to flip back to remind myself who was narrating. Henry is an unlikable character; I didn't find the love story between the two believable. Way better options out there. I would definitely skip this one!

kisanet18 Aug 11, 2016

I recently read The Time-Traveler's Wife and was pretty disappointed---the author somehow manages to turn such an awesome premise (the dude actually time travels!) into something pretty flat and dull. The first hundred pages really hooked me, but after a while I started to get irritated by the descriptions of food. Seriously made me hungry.

Aug 05, 2016

Way too long, with too much emphasis on the food eaten. The two main characters are so much alike, I sometimes get confused about who is talking/narrating! The book is not feminist at all, which is disappointing. Clare is weak, unoriginal, and Henry is actually a pretty bad guy. Skip this book, there's so much more out there!

Jul 30, 2016

An imaginative, fun read.

Jul 13, 2016

Time Traveler's Wife tells the story of a dashing, time travelling librarian and his beloved who lives in linear time. It’s endlessly inventive, beautifully written, unique and engaging. It also captures the cityscape of Chicago beautifully.

Sep 07, 2015

Excellent book. The movie is almost as good. Both are worth your time.

falsedichotomy Aug 25, 2015

An original story line with a sci-fi twist, but the experiences of the two characters are very familiar. This is a heartbreaking, 'timeless' tale that will resonate with anyone who has experienced loss, distance, and separation from the ones they love the most. However, in this story, Time itself is the ultimate barricade, instead of physical distances.

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