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Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Time Traveler's Wife (Part 2)

First the movie…. Then the book

A few years ago Mrs. T. and I went to see the movie The Time Travelers Wife.   Shortly thereafter, I reviewed it on this blog.   My critique was fairly roundly panned by a few of my favorite “commenters”.  A common theme was that if I had read the book first, I would have understood the movie much better. I filed that thought on the To Be Read List.  Here is what I wrote back then.  “Now I don’t mind "chick flicks" at all. That is especially true if their based on a bestselling, generally highly rated novel. Even though I hadn't read the book, I figured with a title like that it had to be something special. It was.  It's had all the scenes that make you want to tear up. The wedding where the groom is late, then suddenly arrives. There are two cute and precocious children. They were his daughter and his wife..... Oh wait a minute that doesn't sound good. Our hero, Henry the husband keeps skipping out at inopportune moments and then dies twice and...... Ooops , let me start over.  

Henry is a time traveler. That means he comes and goes in space and time pretty much at random. Claire meets and falls in love with him as a child. She grows up. They get married. This whole time travel thing is really really inconvenient but she has no regrets. I'm pretty sure she said that, although with all the jumping back and forth, time and space wise, it's hard to be sure. This is a Love Story. Nobody actually says "love is never having to say you’re sorry," from the movie of the same name. Actually Henry is sorry a lot.

Alright, you can see where I'm going. It's not bad. It's not awful but the whole thing is pretty silly, even, dare I say it, trite. The characterizations are minimal. Some will point to deeper meanings behind all this. Deconstructing it’s all obviously a deep metaphor for something else. Well, yes, life has its ups and downs. I even got a little wet around the eyes a few times .... but mostly, I had to work hard to stifle some serious giggles at what were clearly the wrong times. Mrs. T. didn't appreciate that.

Btw I asked Mrs. T.  if she would recommend the movie to her friends. She replied "yes, but only if they were fans of science fiction." I asked how many of those she had. "None," she replied. Maybe she was reluctant to use the word romance. For the male part of the audience, I think they could, at least, understand why Henry kept coming back. That Claire was well worth the effort.”

So. Finally I just finished reading the book. It was worse than the movie . Yes  is it was cleverly written and surely unique but in the end even more confusing than the movie. Perhaps,  I should stick to reading comic books. At least I can follow the plot….




Primitive Stars said...

Hi, ya, maybe stick to comics, I like them too, :) Francine.

Montanagirl said...

I've heard of that movie, but have not seen it (we don't go to theaters). I haven't read the book either. Oh my, I'm really behind on things, aren't I! Loved your review though!!

Ms Sparrow said...

I think there was a short-lived TV show based on the book/movie. It starred the red-haired doctor on Grey's Anatomy. I liked the TV show but never saw the movie or read the book.

Jo's World said...

I read the book when it first came out but unfortunately I have little or no memory of it. It really didn't move me much (in time, space or otherwise.)

So I agree with you that at the showing of the movie, I was a no show.


NCmountainwoman said...

I did not read the book or see the movie. The entire premise turned me off. Seems I didn't miss much.

David Oliver said...

One less book to put on my reading list. Thanks TB!

As always, I liked reading what you said about it.

amanda said...

I read the book a few years ago, and really thought it was quite awful! I couldn't put it down, I had to see what happened.. and yes, it jerked my emotions around a couple of times.. but I did not care for the writing or the book at all.
I have three categories for books once I read them.
1. Those I love so much, they find a home on my bookshelves, and I may re-read them over the years & definitely hope my kids & husband will read (Anne of Green Gables.. James Herriot, even Harry Potter.)
2. Books I enjoy enough to pass around to my mom, sisters, and a couple of book swapper friends.
3. Books that I wouldn't want anyone I know to waste their precious time on.. Or worse yet, books I would be mortified to pass on to my mother & having her know I read! Those books get donated to thrift stores quite promptly.

This was one of the #3 books for me. :)
Glad to get a movie review. I don't see many movies, but like to have fair warning before I do!

Ien in the Kootenays said...

LOL. I loved the book and it had me all teary, even though I am as a rule not into romance. I love science fiction, and crazy stuff like multi dimensionsional universes, time doing funny things, bring them on. I agree that reading the book should be a prerequisite for seeing the movie. I just finished this author's second novel and liked it far less.

Anvilcloud said...

I loved the book -- thought it was very clever. Your synopsis with all of its humour is pretty darn good though. Excellent writing on your part.

CailinMarie said...

hmm. I remember that book. It came highly recommended. I didn't appreciate it. I couldn't buy into the whole time travel thing and found the repeated attempts at pregnancy, knowing the risk, selfish and stupid.

Sally Wessely said...

I never did read the book when it was popular. I don't think I will read it now. It just does not appeal to me.

Carolynn Anctil said...

I'd have to agree with you about the movie. I didn't like it at all, although, having promptly put it out of my mind after viewing it, I don't clearly remember the reasons why.

I have not read the book. I'm a quick learner. *grin*

LauraHinNJ said...

Funny... this is one of my most favorite books! The movie was ok; I can't imagine it would be easily understandable to someone who hadn't read the book first.