Friday, March 30, 2007

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Henry is a librarian at the Newbery in Chicago and Clare is an aspiring artist. When these two attractive, perfectly cool and Wicker-Parky bohemian arty Chicagoans meet and fall in love, it is practically love at first sight. But is it? You see, Henry has a genetic disorder that makes him slip in and out of time, traveling willy-nilly with no self control backwards and forwards in time. And because they share a great love, his travels have frequently brought him to Clare throughout her life, so she has known him since she was 6 years old. This science fiction-ish premise sets up a novel that contemplates the nature of free-will, of cause and effect, and the power of love across time.

You would think that I'd be pretty pre-disposed to liking this novel. After all, it is set in Chicago (my home town) and I can picture pretty easily almost every setting in the book. One of the main characters is a librarian who graduated from the very same school that I am attending right now. It has a fantasy/science fiction feel to it, and I've always liked fantasy and sci fi. And I DO like the book, even though it indulges in one of my least favorite activities in a book - gratuitous references to outre popular culture so I can tell just how cool and with it the author is. This book club reading is my second time around reading the novel. But as much as I enjoy the book, it just feels like mostly surface to me. Maybe I'm missing the allegory, or I'm not sensitive to the deeper themes, but the book feels like a quality chick flick to me. It is entertaining, easy to digest, with appealing characters, but it for me it just missed being something. It's a frappuccino of a book - more sophisticated than a milk shake, and you don't have to feel ashamed carrying it around - but it still kind of feels a little like junk food....

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