Customer Reviews for

The Time Traveler's Wife

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

60 out of 62 people found this review helpful.

Fantastic story, looking forward to the movie!

The Time Traveler's Wife is a heart-wrenching account of a time traveler named Henry, who spontaneously "travels." He cannot control when the time travel happens and it leads to a very unpredictable life. Henry meets Clare and thus begins a love story of two people who ...
The Time Traveler's Wife is a heart-wrenching account of a time traveler named Henry, who spontaneously "travels." He cannot control when the time travel happens and it leads to a very unpredictable life. Henry meets Clare and thus begins a love story of two people who can never be completely together.
The Time Traveler's Wife will stay with you well after you've read the ending. I read the ending over and over again wanting to relive the last moment these two lovers were together. Melancholy follows the two lovers and propels you to keep reading. There is deep symolism in the novel, though the circumstances around the two main characters is outlandish, the feelings behind it are real. How can you truly be 100% with someone who can never be there for you? It's a question a lot of relationships face and Niffenegger answers it beautifully.
The movie is coming out this November and is starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. I hope that the movie lives up to the book, though it will be hard. Interesting read, I recommend it with 5 stars.

posted by 148253 on October 29, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

18 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

One of the worst books ever!

This may be THE worst book I have ever read. Yes, it's that bad. I had high expectations for this book, given the reviews. The most important thing to note is that this is NOT a love story. It a story of a twisted, obsessive, controlling relationship. Henry...
This may be THE worst book I have ever read. Yes, it's that bad. I had high expectations for this book, given the reviews. The most important thing to note is that this is NOT a love story. It a story of a twisted, obsessive, controlling relationship. Henry travels back in time after he meets his wife and develops a relationship with her as a child. How sick is it for a grown man to appear buck naked in front of a young girl, then tell her its ok because he marries her in the future? It gets worse. This book has unnecessarily graphic sex and gory scenes that add nothing to the story. The language is vulgar. I really can't believe a woman wrote this garbage. One of the worse scenes is when Henry travels back in time to have sex with himself! Who could even imagine that, let alone actually write it down? Ugh. Then there's the story, if you can even call it that. The book jumps around in time and there is no plot thread at all. The kindest thing I can say about it is that it is confusing. It jumps around between Henry and Clare narrating, yet they both have the same voice because its written so poorly. At first I kept looking back at the start of the chapter to see who was talking, then after I while I didn't even bother. The characters were totally unlikable and I didn't even care enough to try to figure it out. The saddest thing is that I actually read the entire book. I kept thinking that it had to get better, or that everything would get tied together at the end. But it didn't. Reading this book was a total waste of time. Don't make the same mistake I did.

posted by Anonymous on October 5, 2008

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not That Impressed

    I was not that impressed with The Time Traveler's Wife. Although I will give the author credit for originality on the story line and creativity to come up with an explanation of the existence of Time Travelers, the rest of the story I didn't care for.

    Call me conservative or prude or what have you, I'm not a big fan of the sexual scenes in the story. I felt like I was almost reading a romance novel with some of the scenes. They were very detailed and some were unrealistic. The characters would be in the middle of just talking then all of a sudden they are touching each other. Not very realistic in my opinion and not necessary either. I felt the love and desire between them in the other scenes and didn't think it necessary to go into that much detail. I also did not understand the point of the last love scene between Clare and Gomez. I think the author could have left that scene out and we would still have clearly understood the longing and pain Clare felt with Henry being gone. To me having detailed scenes like that is a cheap and easy way to express love and desire between two people. It could have been written differently or left out completely.

    I thought her explanation of time traveling was genius though. I really enjoyed her diving into the details of the genetics and the research and probing and prodding that Henry went through with the doctors. It was EXCELLENTLY written and very believable. The only thing that occurred to me was this would obviously have to be a recessive gene or there would be many more time travelers in the world. And the fact that Clare had so many miscarriages because the fetus would time travel was a little odd to me. I would imagine that not all of their babies would have this gene just like not all children of two parents have the same color eyes or hair. But I'm just getting picky on that point. The pain and longing Clare felt for a child and her multiple miscarriages were all excellently written and broke my heart for the characters.

    Overall I thought the book was OK. Not the best I've read but not the worst either. It was definitely a creative story line and I enjoyed her technique of bouncing back and forth between Henry and Clare's perspectives. There are some things I didn't care for in the book so I'm not that impressed with it as a whole but it's OK.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Extraordinary and interesting plot.

    In The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Henry DeTamble has a genetic disease which allows him to time travel. In the future after his death, people with the disease are addressed as CDPs or Chrono-Displaced Persons. The disease takes him to the past and the future in times of stress without him deciding when or where he will go. On one of his travels, Henry meets Clare Abshire, his wife, for the first time in September, 1977, the past, when Clare is 6 and he is 36. Then in October of 1991, Henry meets Clare for the first time in his present and does not know who, or as a matter of fact, anything about Clare. On the other hand, Clare is confused by his ignorance. Subsequently, the love story of Henry and Clare is told, made unique by Henry's ability to time travel.
    In my opinion, the story has several repetitive and insignificant events which bore the reader. For instance, in the first few years of Henry and Clare's marriage, Clare goes through six miscarriages before giving birth to their one and only child. Another example is that Henry mentions the importance of his relationship with Gomez countless times. I understand that they were written intentionally by the author to emphasize the significance but I found the style a little overwhelming.
    On the contrary, the plot of the story as a whole was original and creative which intrigued me enough to continue to read the book. In other words, the unpredictable change in time and the constant change in perspective keep you wondering what will happen next. These two factors were what interested me but they puzzled me as well. However, as the plot is carried out and Henry ages, his future self that visited the past becomes the present. In other words, Henry's past, present and future become one, making its previously confusing events self-explanatory.
    The Time Traveler's Wife became very famous after its movie was shown in theaters. Hence, recommendations from many people regarding the motion picture encouraged me to give the book a try during winter vacation. Unlike what the back of the book promised - "A most untraditional love story" - I thought that it was a very common romance story apart from the time traveling. Despite my disappointment, I think that it is a book worthy of reading and would like to see the movie and compare it with the book and decide which is more preferable.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Book Club Must?

    Some would say yes...others might say no. I left this book feeling mixed emotions. This was a book I had wanted to read, as well as see the movie. Overall the storyline was creative and different from other books I have read. However, I felt myself confused during the first part of the book until I figured out the time traveling sequence and how to interpret the dates. Once I understood better the concept of the story and how to piece it together, the rest went smoothly. The middle of the book was where most of the action took place, at least for me. But the ending was one where I wanted to hold on and wanted the characters to do the same. I will admmit there were times where I couldn't put it down, but there were times where I didn't want to pick it up either! In the end I think it would be a good book club pick as there are many different conversation starters from this book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2009

    Disappointed

    My friends and I were a bit disappointed. I felt as though there are holes in the story and questions that were never resolved. Maybe they will be answered in a sequel?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An interesting discussion topic.

    I won't pretend that The Time Traveler's Wife is the best book on the planet. Anyone who reads it can see that. There were several faults to the book, but there were also several factors that seem to draw people in.

    The characters are some that people might find detestable. Fact is, when I see their actions everything screams human to me. People get older and people change. Different life styles make different kinds of people. I did not adore the characters, but I liked them and I respected them.

    While I would not usually judge on grammar, I have to say that it could have been better. Some of the sentences were so badly fragmented that I wanted to cringe. I even ran across a few run on sentences. But that is nothing that could not be fixed with a bit more revision.

    But truthfully, I have to applaud Ms.Niffenegger. She created a completely original plot that I can not help but be amazed by. This is one of those books that seem to call people back to read it over again. Discover the life long tale that it holds in its pages and let it enchant you time after time.

    I don't believe in happy endings, but I do believe in closure. Some think that the ending of the book was abrupt or they felt it did no justice. I think it was perfect. Closure for some of the happiest times in Clare's life.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    not a popular opinion, but I was disappointed

    I really love to read. I read a variety of authors and take the recommendations of friends. I think this book is over- hyped. For me,
    I could not pick it up and put it down easily because you never remembered how old Henry was at the time. And that didn't matter, because it jumped around so much. I felt that, at times, it was confusing. The premise was very unique and I enjoyed the characters but some of the scenes did not make sense to me. Henry at one point, declares himself an alcoholic but doesn't always get drunk and yet sometimes gets very drunk.
    I really did not understand the scenes where Henry was one age and observing himself at another. The fact that Henry watched his other self impregnate Claire after so many miscarriages was disturbing. I also did not have a clear handle on the daughter. Was she going to have an easier time or be doomed to a sad life like Henry? Left me puzzled but not caring enough.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    The end of the audiobook was absent

    After hours of enjoyment, this wonderful story unfolded into the climax...at the most emotional part of the story....for some reason that left me peeved and somewhat furious...the mp3 cut out and I never got to hear the end of the book. Luckily my mom has a printed version and when I visit I will have to borrow her copy. I guess they were inaccurate in the desciption when they said "Unabridged"....UGH! It like not hearing the hearing the final notes of a grand symphony...IT"S SO WRONG!!!

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Journey Through Time

    The first beach read of this summer. I am excited to get started!

    Synopsis:
    What would you do if you could travel through time? Go back to any place in time? See family member's who are long gone. Meet the woman you will marry one day. See your children after you are long gone. These experiences are part of Henry Detamble's life. He meets Clare for the first time when he is twenty eight years old and Clare is twenty. Although in later years Henry meets Clare at age six and she believes everything he says about time traveling. The book chronicles the courtship of Clare, although Henry is at different ages during this time. When Henry and Clare meet in the present and Clare explains who she is destiny seems to follow. Will Clare have a fulfilling life despite Henry's absences? Will Clare continue to choose to wait for him?

    My thoughts:
    I thought this book was interesting. The book was easy to read. I also found it helpful to see the movie before reading the book. I sometimes use a movie for a frame of reference when reading the book. The movie helps with visualizing what the author may have intended as a vision for the book. My only criticism of the book is the story lagging in some places.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2010

    Eh.. an Alright Book.

    Starting this book was easy; I just picked it up and was hooked! Finishing the book, now that was the difficult part! My first try my initiative was to just read it fast and hopefully get some sweet emotion out of it! My first try, failure! I couldn't even get 4 chapters into it and then I would quit. It tome me 3 more tries to really start it, and that is because I needed a book to do a book report on! I believe that there were many reasons I couldn't get into it! One of them may have been the mature content! It was very mature for my age of only 14 years! I thought I was pretty mature, being the oldest of 6 and all, but nope. Not even close! It mentions many things that I was not sure I wanted to even know, or if I should ask my mother what it meant because I didn't want her to know what it meant either! I just barely entered the magnificent world of high school, and the wonderful experience of high school boys! There is no need for a girl my age to be thinking about these particular topics! Just plain wrong and very nasty! Yuck! I am gagging right now this very second just thinking about it! So that is one possible reason of maybe why it didn't click the way most books usually do with me! Another reason could have been that I got tired of reading swear words! Every other paragraph there was a swear word! Usually the "F" bomb! Ah! I mean everyone has heard swearing, especially walking the halls of school, and sometimes you just have to swear, just to get your point across correctly! But to much their Audrey! I understand if maybe she wanted to make her characters swear like that, because that may be their personality, but really the various times swearing was used in this book would not be considered swearing in my opinion, it was just regular vocabulary! The "F" word was used probably as many times that a city girl would use the word "like" which if you didn't catch my drift, is a ton! First reading the book, I would shudder at every swear word! I mean an actual shudder! I mean couldn't Audrey Niffenegger find better choice words? Clare Abshire is described as a beautiful, fun, bubbly young lady, but it makes her not as pretty when the "F" word flows about the page! In my opinion anyways! Now, for the things I loved of the book! First of all, I loved the description! Various instances I could actually see what was going on! I felt like I was there and experiencing the heart ache with Clare, or the pain with Henry. I could feel the pressure of being alone, or the feeling of agony the young in love couple had when they were apart. This was one of the few books that I had read that made me feel as though I was watching what was happening, instead of just reading it! Also, as a teenage girl, I loved the romance! Henry was a picture perfect boyfriend, with the only fault of not always being there for his sweetheart! I recommend this book for anyone that is ready for the thrill of adventure, the mystery of time, and if you think you're mature enough, the romance that comes with it!

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  • Posted August 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Time Travel described beautifully, but the rest of the book distorts the picture

    I think that the concept of this book, the time travler, his wife, and their lives together, could have been executed better. The love story between Henry and Clare is timeless, but the book itself I found to be difficult to follow. The first half of the book was very monotonous, but then it picked up half way through. The trials and tribulations associated with time travel is brilliantly described but the little blips of sexual/borderline vulgar descriptions and sentences in a different language took away from the wonderful love story. This was not my favorite book, but it was also not terrible. It will make you think and be glad that your significant other stays in the present. The first half of the book is boring, but it is necessary for understanding the ending of the book. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a new kind of love story, but it wasn't much to brag about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2010

    Awesome start, repetitive middle, and predictable ending. Easy reading.

    Easy reading, starts off interesting and as the story develops it becomes repetitive and a little boring - not to mention predictable. It's ok for reading in the airplane or when you're in between good and intense books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Not the best

    I don't think that this was the best book I have ever read, but I didn't hate it. It was boring and did not keep me hooked a lot of the time. It was an easy read. I finished it in about a week and a half. I wouldn't reccomend this for most people I know.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    The Time Traveler's Wife was not as capturing as I had hoped

    I read this book after watching and enjoying the movie and then getting rave reviews from a friend.

    Overall, the storyline was intriguing and kept me on the edge of my seat as I was constantly wondering about Henry's whereabouts.

    While it was an entertaining read, there were parts that made me embarrassed for the author - her choice of words were a bit distracting and perverse, which took away from sensual moments in the book- this made it hard for me to stay mentally engaged in these scenes.

    There were also moments where the characters spoke "frenglish" - I felt this was a bit cheesy and also made it hard for me to become attached to the characters themselves.

    All-in-all, I have to ask, "Really?" Have other authors made this kind of writing style effective or was Audrey playing out her personal fantasy? If the latter, I just found it hard to immerse and relate- which is why I can't rate this more than mildly entertaining.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    Original and sweet.. but a bit long!!

    I would not recommend this book unless you are willing to take plenty of time to sit down and really throw yourself into it. It is a very long book, and although it is a very interesting story, the plot tends to be boring and drawn-out at some points. The story is bascially about a man named Henry DeTamble, who has a genetic disorder which causes him to time travel spontaneously, and a girl named Clare Abshire who later becomes his wife. The theme of the book is a great idea and very cute, but I personally think that the author could have shortened the book to half as long as it currently is, and it still would have had the same potency. Each section in the book is almost like a diary. The entries are specified by date, which definitely helps with trying to understand the plot, and they are also separated into what ages Clare and Henry were at that time. Anyone who enjoys sappy, romantic love stories would definitely like this new and interesting twist on true love, and the struggles that this particular couple experience which average people can't even imagine. The fascinating storyline makes up for the few parts of muddled confusion, and the book is still a very good read. Again, like I said earlier, it is important that you must be a dedicated reader to finish this long tale. You have to really commit! However, do not fear, because once you finish it, you will be very glad you read the whole thing. Good luck!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2010

    Similar to the movie, as well as differnt

    I saw the movie before I read the book...the main plot was the same, yet it was different as well. For me it, seeing the movie first helped me understand how the book was written...I was able to understand how certain main scenes were seen by both of the main characters. The main idea of the book, to me was very interesting...a man basically falling in love with a child and getting to know her through his time travels...it had some unsettling parts for me, but on the weird side it was kind of romantic. The book also like most books that were turned into a movie, went very indepth to the characters and certain fundamental scenes, you formed a connection to the characters and began to understand how this love was able to grow over time. I did find myself having to re-read certain parts and pay closer attention to the dates. I recommend this book if you're looking for a casual, fun, yet serious read. And make sure you have some tissues ready.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    Waiting gets boring.

    The theme of this love story is waiting; which is the only thing that I liked about this book, the beginning and the ending. What was between the first and last chapter was way too long for a story that never moved from the same thought. The time traveling got to confusing to keep up with at times and was too depressing. I didn't like the book, but I kept reading hoping that some of the questions would get answered. They didn't. Even though I didn't like the book, I still want to watch the movie in hope catch something I missed while reading the book.

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    If I say that you will like apples when you grow up, do you start to like them because you think you're supposed to?

    This book is definitely entertaining and interesting. Its characters are cute and the story is quite romantic. However, its manipulation of time is confusing and at times frustrating. Overall, it makes for a good read but nothing too stimulating.

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hard but worth it

    I started reading this book and I had difficulty following the story for the first quarter of the book. After I was able to grasp the author's style of writing it was easier to follow.
    I enjoyed to open and realness of Henry and Claire's relationship. It wasn't made up with unrealistic outcomes or problems. Claire's dedication to Henry is inspiring. Waiting for days to months to years to see the one person you love entirely is unbelievable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good book

    I enjoyed this book, it didn't have a lot to do with time travel but I didn't expect it to. I read it on my commute back and forth to work and it made the time pass easily.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is just an okay read!

    This is an okay read. The novel moves slowly...and jumps around alot chronologically (in time) and sequentially (the events are not in order), which can be disorienting. Sometimes Clare is a child or teenager and Henry is an adult during their meetings. The ending reminded me of the Ghost and Mrs. Muir...In my opinion, it lacks the passion that would make it a great romantic novel. This is one that I could definitely have put down and did...several times in fact. I guess it's not too bad for a first novel.

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