When I started reading this book I was wondering why it was called “The Time Traveler’s Wife“? Even though the story is narrated by both Henry (the time traveler) and Clare (the time traveler’s wife), I feel like the only person I’m following is Henry. To me Henry is more interesting than his wife, not only because he’s the time traveler but also because of everything that he has to go through, all the decisions he has to makes, and all the action he takes. I feel like the main narrator here is Henry. And Clare’s part just fills in a few gaps here and there. It doesn’t mean that I don’t feel for Clare. It just means that for me Henry is clearly the main character here.
The book is darker than I expected. And I really feel for Henry. I feel like his life is really fucked up with all the time traveling (and the conditions that come with it), the death of his mother, the relationship with his father and everything. The most heartbreaking part for me is when his feet are cut off. It’s just cruel (I don’t understand how the writer could do this to him). He’s the guy who goes running every morning because his life depends on it. He needs his feet to survive. Henry’s life is difficult enough with both his feet. And sure enough after he loses them he loses his will to live.
One of the things I don’t really understand is how Henry and Clare fall in love. Henry meets Clare for the first time when he’s 28 and she tells him that she’s his future wife and that he has been visiting her since she was 6 and she’s been in love in him all her life and then he decides that she’s the one. And Clare is visited by this stranger time traveler guy who tells her that he’s her future husband and she becomes really devoted to him and no matter what happens she wants to be with him. I may not be a romantic person, but I feel like their love life (and especially Clare’s life) is manipulated by Henry’s time traveling ability. Sure, if Henry doesn’t tell Clare anything they might still meet when she grows up. But as a reader we don’t really get to see that possibility.
This love story confirms my already pessimistic view of love that it always leads to suffering. I’m not trying to be a Buddhist here, but that’s what I believe. Sometimes I feel like I don’t ever want to fall in love. I’m not afraid of being dumped or being betrayed or getting my heart broken that way. But what would happen if you spend what seems like your whole life with this one person and one day he leaves you forever? That is something I don’t think I can stand. When I read this book I felt that Henry’s and Clare’s lives are full of suffering. And I wonder if it’s worth it. Sure, they have some good moments (and of course, great sex). But is it really worth it? (I’m asking myself here.) Even in the end when Clare gets to see Henry one last time, is it worth spending your life waiting with all the memories and the longing and the sadness?
My thought right after I finished reading this book was we write to make sense of the world around us and to find meaning in things that happen in our life. There are stories we want to tell and there are certain ways we want to tell them. And in this case it’s time traveling.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I just think it’s a bit too long.
I didn’t watch the movie (I don’t think I’m going to), but I watched some of the scenes on youtube (I just had to). The film looks better than what I have in my imagination. I mean, I think my imagination looks more realistic than the movie. I imagine Henry in a really bad shape when he time travels (he’s exhausted and hungry and he steals clothes that don’t perfectly fit him). Toward the end of the book Henry is so skinny and sick-looking that his co-workers think he’s dying. But Eric Bana is gorgeous from the beginning to end and everything he wears looks good one him (he looks good when he’s not wearing them either). Anyway, I’m not complaining here (because I love Eric Bana) and sometimes I wish my imagination wasn’t so realistic so I wouldn’t be too depressed when I read things like this.
I admit I did cry a few times.