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Read All The Things! Reviews

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The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger I didn't hate this book, but I don't understand all the reviews that say it's the best book ever. It's entertaining. I'm glad I read it. However, I was hugely underwhelmed.

The biggest mystery to me is why this book is so long. There's not much of a plot, and the characters aren't too deep. How in the world did this thing bloat to 518 pages?

My favorite elements of the book were the premise and the structure. The Time Traveler's Wife tells the story of a time traveler, Henry, who meets and falls in love with Clare. Henry is unable to control when he time travels, and Clare is incapable of time traveling at all. Much of the story is told through a series of flashbacks and flash forwards as Henry travels through time. The structure probably made this book very difficult to write. A less-skilled author would have ended up with a very confusing story.

Even though I loved the premise and the structure, they can't carry the entire book. Eventually, something needs to happen to keep me interested. That's where I started running into problems. Not much happens in the first half of the book. By the time I got through Henry and Clare's wedding, I was pretty bored. Most weddings in real life are insufferably boring. I didn't need an hour-by-hour description of a fictional one.

Speaking of descriptions, a lot of them felt long and unnecessary. The reader gets to see (in detail) every activity that the characters do in bed (as well as in the meadow. And on top of the kitchen table). There were also long-winded descriptions of art, food, and music. I found myself skimming over most of them.

I liked the second half of the book much better than the first. There is more tension, and the story finally feels like it's going somewhere. I stayed up way too late to finish it because it gets interesting toward the end.

I think I would have enjoyed this novel more if I had been able to connect with the characters. Most of the secondary characters are either underdeveloped or stereotypes. Henry and Clare are both very pretentious. None of the characters are human enough for me to feel anything for them. The voices of the first-person narrators are too similar, and I sometimes forgot whose POV I was reading.

Finally, my copy has several typos in it. Maybe those are fixed in other editions.

So, is this book worth reading? Yes, I think so. It's entertaining and a little unusual, but it's nothing special.