Day 1: The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Every other month, I buy each of my sisters a new book that I think they’ll love. It’s kind of my way of making up for the fact that our parents never really encouraged reading for fun. We’re descended from a long line of overachievers with no social life, so it’s a little hard for anyone in our clan to understand the concept of “fun”.
Anyway, I digress. Point is that last month I decided my teenage sister needed something a little intense and grownup. And I picked up The Time Traveler’s Wife for her. This may have been for entirely selfish reasons too; I need someone to watch the movie with when it comes out (insert Eric Bana swoon here), and I wanted someone who got the book as well as I did. Sue me.
My own reaction to the book was a little teary, but contained. I was definitely not prepared for the volcanic mess that my sister became. I kid you not; there is nothing scarier than waking up at 4 in the morning to find your sensible, level-headed sister as a sobbing, blubbering mess on the floor. I nearly killed her after finding out that everyone in the house was alive and well, and her overflowing emotions were just a reaction to the book.
The story is, obviously, about a time traveler’s wife. Clare met Henry as a fully grown man when she was a little girl, and from then onwards, she found the love of her life. Henry is afflicted with a rare disease, Chrono-Displacement Disorder, that makes him travel back and forth in time without a moment’s notice, and leaves him completely vulnerable and naked at a different moment in time. It makes for a complicated series of timelines, but you’ll get into it.
Interestingly enough, though, this story isn’t about Henry and his mind-boggling capability. It’s about Clare, a woman who falls for him with all his baggage, and how she patiently deals with always getting left behind. It’s the story of Clare and her never-ending, undemanding love and devotion to a man who redefines “unavailable”. And of course, it makes you believe that love can truly conquer all – even time.
Yes, it’s sad and heartbreaking to its very core, but it’s also insanely beautiful. Kind of makes even the most hardened cynics believe in true love and fate all over again.
Read this, but – I’m warning you now so steel yourselves – it might make you cry. Just don’t give your family ulcers when you do. Quiet and dignified is the best way to do this.