Normally, I like books above the movies/tv shows that are made from them. Almost always anyway. But not with The Time Traveler’s Wife. I haven’t finished the book yet, but it bores me. I don’t want to finish it, but it is my book club’s book, so I kinda have to read it. Who knows? Maybe it will surprise me. But I doubt it. There are too many passages I was tempted to skip, too many scenes that bored me. Plus, I have some questions that haven’t been answered. And having watched the movie, I doubt they will be answered.
The movie and the book aren’t exactly the same, but similar enough, I think. I am not sure what all they changed in the movie because I haven’t finished the book. I am pretty sure they left out how Clair slept with Gomaz. I don’t think they conveyed Claire‘s “I didn’t think you would be this selfish” moment after their first sex scene. (Which was surprising by the way – that was their first real date and she had sex with him. But I suppose you could count her childhood picnic with him as a first date. But than they would both have different first dates with each other . . .) The movie left out how Claire had seen Henry when she was thirteen, and didn’t know exactly what she had seen (she heard the commotion when her brother/father accidentally shot Henry and came running out to see). When Henry traveled forward in time to see his daughter, in the book, I got the impression that everyone knew about people like Henry, who travel back and forth through time. That it had somehow become a thing of common knowledge. In the movie, daughter and Henry are somehow apart from her class (they are visiting a museum) and just walking and talking. There, it felt like no one knew about people like Henry. Also, in the book, Claire had so many miscarriages because the babes are traveling in time and her body was rejecting them as foreign tissue. The doctor lowered her immune response to the babies in order to finally give birth. In the movie, they made it sound like a stress issue.
I like the movie better. Which is odd – normally, I am railing and ranting because all the interesting details that make the book worth reading disappear in the movie. I think it is because the movie cut out all the boring parts. I think it is a sad commentary on the book.
Sometimes the book was confusing, especially when both Henrys were present and it was hard tell which Henry was from the future and which from the present. Sometimes it was hard to tell Henry and Claire apart, and I had to go back to the top to see who was talking and who was how old (their respective ages weren’t always clear just from the text, either).
Also a problem is when Henry, after insisting that he can’t interfere in events when he time travels, beats up the guy the who attacked Claire. The sentiment is good, but the thing is, he is not supposed to be able to affect events at all the in past. At all!!! Yeah, sure, you can say that he did it because he was suppose do it and the fact that he could do it all proved he had already done and on and on. That’s a cop-out answer, if you ask me. I am not convinced. Even though Henry says over and over and over that he cannot change events, I am not convinced. This whole thing is also missing from the movie.
So, the questions I have. The movie didn’t answer them. At this time, with less than a quarter of the book left to go, I doubt the book will provide answers. There is no mention of how he inherited his time traveling gene. This isn’t terribly important, I suppose, and I can always assume it was some wild genetic mutation. At one point, Henry tells Gomaz that he saved his life, and at this point in the book, I have no idea how. But most important, how was Henry born at all? Since Claire has so much trouble giving birth, Henry’s mother should have had trouble, too. But there is no mention of that. She couldn’t have had her immune response suppressed in order to give birth and Henry shouldn’t have been born. The movie’s stress thing works better here – we can just assume Henry’s mother had a more serene gestation.
Above and beyond all these issues is that a 40 something Henry makes love to an 18 year old Claire. Ick. Just ick – the idea of a 40 something with a 18 year old girl. Really ick.
Anyway, I really don’t like this book. The movie was better. More focused and it cut out all the boring, unimportant parts.
- Don’t read this if you don’t want to be disturbed (hindiakoto.wordpress.com)
- Audrey Niffenegger, artist and author: The world of (telegraph.co.uk)