I’ve had several people ask me recently what I thought about “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger. The easy answer is that I liked it. I devoured the love story and characters as if it were a rich mousse waiting on me to slowly savor each bite. Niffenegger does a fabulous job of developing these wonderful people with whom you can easily identify and who’s lives you want to know more about.
However, the quality that impressed me the most was the organization and structure of this story. Yes, I’m an English teacher and at times I cannot separate the reader from the teacher and this story was a tour de force in structure. It is mind-boggling how much forethought and planning must have gone into this story before she wrote a single word. The time traveling and often times, overlap between the two characters could have been clumsy, confusing and awkward for the reader. Instead, Niffenegger seamlessly takes her reader back and forth from present to past to future without ever losing the fluidity of the story. I applaud the monumental effort that must have been put forth to make this story work on a purely organizational level.
My only disappointment was in the ending, which felt weak and almost like an after thought. Was she intentionally leaving loose threads so a sequel could be written? Oh, I hope not. The book seemed to end suddenly with so many unanswered questions that I felt betrayed at the end. I also at times felt the main characters struck me as a bit cliche. She’s an artist, he’s a librarian, they live a bohemian lifestyle in Chicago that seems perfect for Hollywood to take and turn into a movie. For my more conservative readers, this book has some very vivid sex scenes. The multiple sexual encounters of the two main characters are described ad nauseum at times and in detail that I felt was unnecessary. Call me a prude.
Overall though I felt it was a fabulous book, that was well written and crafted. I most definitely will be seeing the film in the fall and would recommend this book as a great summer time fling.