The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

Published May 18, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

A funny, often poignant tale of boy meets girl with a twist: what if one of them couldn’t stop slipping in and out of time? Highly original and imaginative, this debut novel raises questions about life, love, and the effects of time on relationships.

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

What did I think?:

I’ve mentioned in a recent post that I’ve started doing a new “thing.” I am currently trying to make my way through a humungous TBR by reading one fiction book, one non fiction book and an old favourite (because the books on my favourites shelves are becoming sadly neglected for all the new, shiny ones!). The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my all-time favourite reads that I gave five stars on when I first read it and was curious to find out if it still remained a favourite or whether I would have to send it on its merry way to the charity shop. Luckily, I adored it and it still remains a firm favourite with that five star rating fully intact, however it came with a host of problems that I had forgotten about and not anticipated. I’m about to get a bit personal now so if that isn’t your bag, you don’t have to keep reading, I won’t be offended, I promise!

Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife with a quote from the novel that really resonates with me.

Urrrgh, okay. Here we go. So I’ve alluded in past posts that it’s been one hell of a year. Well, actually one hell of an eighteen months and that’s because in the past nine months alone, I’ve had two miscarriages, three surgeries, a scare when they thought I had a brain tumour (I’m fine!) and now, there will be further investigations in the hospital as this brings my total miscarriage count to three. That’s a very brief summary but things have been absolutely mental and obviously quite traumatic, I haven’t had the easiest time physically or emotionally and my second one was particularly horrific. Is there a point Beth? Does this relate to the book in any way, shape or form? Oh dear, I do love a bit of rambling in my reviews don’t I?! We’ll get to the point in the next paragraph.

Sad but true. And we NEED to start talking about it. 

If you haven’t managed to get round to this gorgeous book yet, let me give you a quick summary. It’s essentially a love story between Henry and Clare. I know, I know, I don’t normally “do” romance but this one captured my heart completely. Henry is a time traveller which he discovered from a very young age. He jumps backwards and forwards in his lifespan and always arrives naked, which as you can imagine, can be quite tricky depending on the location he arrives in! Henry meets Clare as a child during one of his journeys and immediately recognises her as the woman he is married to in the future. Audrey Niffenegger then tells their story which jumps about as Henry travels, from their very first meeting, to when they fall in love and begin a physical relationship, to their marriage and life together as husband and wife. Obviously during this time, Henry is still time travelling but each journey becomes more and more dangerous as they fight to find a doctor that will firstly believe them and secondly attempt to find a cure. Added to this is their desperate fight to have a child which is hampered by Clare suffering multiple, very traumatic miscarriages that makes them think the “time travel” gene is preventing them from having a family of their own and a happy, “normal” ending.

Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana as Clare and Henry in the 2009 film.

So for some reason, when I first decided to re-read my old favourites, I had completely forgotten about what the character Clare goes through regarding the miscarriages and the struggle to have a child. As soon as I realised and remembered whilst reading, I automatically had a feeling of dread. Could I handle this? Everything was so raw at the time with my own situation, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be strong enough. Happily, I coped just fine and although it was an emotional reading experience and I did shed a few tears, it actually made my re-read even more memorable and special as I could really sympathise with the female lead. Aside from this, The Time Traveler’s Wife is just such a fantastic, exciting and moving read where you become instantly invested in the characters, their story and just hope against all hope for a happy ending for them. I’m not going to give away the ending for those who haven’t read it yet but I think it was pretty damn perfect in my opinion. There was love, there was hope and there was sadness. Everything wasn’t wrapped up with a neat little bow but I definitely felt optimistic for our characters future. Please read this if you haven’t so far, it’s a stunning story that took my breath away both the first and second time I read it and it’s one I’ll certainly be reading again in the future.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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23 comments on “The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

  • I borrowed this book from a friend in March but yet to read it because of all the ARCs that I need to review. Your review makes me want to read sooner now.

    I am so sorry to hear about the miscarriages, Beth. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I can’t even begin to imagine how tough the past two years have been. Hopefully the investigation will provide answers that will help. Praying that all shall be well ❤

    • Thank you so much that’s really nice of you to say. They say everything happens for a reason but to be honest, I’m struggling to see what that reason is at the moment. It’s something that doesn’t get talked about much and I think it should as it happens to so many women. ☹️ I’m so glad to hear that you want to read this sooner now! It’s such an impactful read, I really really hope you enjoy it. 😊

  • This novel didn’t appeal to me when it was first published but after I confided in a friend about my struggles after my first miscarriage she sent me a copy of this book. I found it really cathartic to read (I sobbed a lot) and it became a book I’ve held dear ever since. I’m so sorry that you’ve been through such a difficult time, my heart goes out to you. Sending a big hug your way. x

    • Thanks Janel, I’ve been back and forward about “coming clean” and writing about it and when it first happened, I didn’t feel like I had anybody to talk to. So if I can help other women feel less alone I’m happy. It felt good writing it, I felt awful yesterday when it was published but now I’m feeling much better, like a huge release? 😌 xx

    • Thank you very much Kerrie, I was in two minds about whether I wanted to mention it but when it first happened to me, I felt like I had no-one to talk to who would understand. Nobody really talks about it and that’s sad. ☹️ I don’t want anyone else to feel like that ever and I thought if I opened up I could be a support to someone else who needed it. I’ve got the start of the investigation process early next month so have everything crossed for some answers. 🤞🏻

  • It just goes to show we know very little about the lives of the people we follow on social media. So sorry you have been going through all this – it sounds horrendous and I hope you get some answers soon.
    Regarding the book, it has been on my TBR shelf for far too long and your review has inspired me to add it to my June reading list. Thank you Beth x

    • Thank you so much 😌 it’s been a bit of a crappy time that’s for sure but am determined to stay positive for the future. Oh I am SO glad my review has led you to read this book sooner, it’s such a special read to me. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! 😘

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