Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

I went and saw the movie, The Time Traveler's Wife, last month. I liked it so I bought the book and am now almost half way through it. It's about Henry, a man who is mysteriously and genetically prone to time travel. He has no control over when he time travels or to when he goes, but he often re-visits places and times familiar to him. Because clothes and possessions do not transport through time he always arrives at his travel destination unclothed. As you can imagine, unlike other such stories, time travel is not all that fun for Henry. He spends much of his time trying to acquire clothes, money, and food as well as fighting off people who find these activities objectionable.

Through his travels he meets Clare. She is a little girl when they meet but over the years of her growing life they become sweet friends. As she gets older, they fall unofficially in love. Eventually they meet in the present where the love story unfolds.

Both the book and movie are very interesting in that you are dealing simultaneously with the past, present, and future. Any one scene or chapter can be about Clare's past but Henry's future, or Henry's future but Clare's present, or perhaps both their presents.

The book is written "by" both Clare and Henry. Each section begins with the date and year as well as both Clare and Henry's ages at the time. This is the clue to whether Henry is time traveling in the section or not. It also lets you know who is speaking by declaring "CLARE:" or "HENRY:" before the narrative. Everything is written in present tense, which at first I found kind of annoying. But then I realized that it could be written no other way. To speak in past tense as most books do would confuse the already confusing sense of time. I now appreciate the literary brilliance, per se, of such an awkward, daring, but necessary writing decision.

The book is somewhat raw in places, a bit raunchy in language and subject when it comes to some sexual references. The movie, as I remember, doesn't seem to include this element of crudity. I seem to remember it as a mostly sweet story, though it is not without it's share of life's pain and tragedy. Not worthy of a G rating, but I wouldn't say R either. The book is more like a PG17, if there were such a thing, but only in some places and not as a whole. [update 10/21/09: I think the raunchy parts might deserve an X rating, but otherwise the rest of the book would be PG13.)

Anyway, since I'm enjoying reading this book and enjoyed the movie, I thought I'd write a little bit about it for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment