Book Review | The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

25 September 2019

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is first and foremost a romance book. It's your classic story of a boy and a girl falling in love, facing life together, and growing in their relationship with each other. But there's a huge difference that sets this particular love story apart from all the other typical romance books out there. Henry, the man in the relationship, has a condition that forces him to jump through time.

I heard about this book while listening to my favorite book podcast, Currently Reading. In episode 46, the hosts let their listeners recommend books, and this was one that was mentioned. I have been slipping into a mild reading slump lately, and when I heard about this book it sounded like the exact read I needed.

I'm a helpless romantic, but I must admit, typical romance books either bore or disturb me for a variety of reasons. Even though this is most definitely a romance book at heart, the unique concept of an unwitting time traveler and a woman who is always wondering when the man she loves will return, never knowing how old he'll be or from what time he'll come from, made the experience of reading so special for me.

I have been in a relationship that has been mostly long distance for years now, and I found myself relating to Clare. Under any other circumstances, I think I would have found her more annoying, but I know so well how it feels to always be waiting. She became a kindred spirit for me in a way.

Henry was a fascinating character to read as well. I felt for him as he dealt with the difficulties of his condition. Time traveling may seem like something that would be fun, but Henry as a troubled character shows clearly how having a non-linear timeline can mess you up.
The secondary characters weren't as memorable to me, but Henry and Clare's dual perspectives were strong on their own, and I didn't care that the other characters were brushed to the side.

The way that the author dealt with the timeline was also brilliant. You have to pay attention to the dates and the ages of the characters, otherwise you'll get lost. But I loved piecing together the timeline like a puzzle. I love time travel in books when it's done well. It makes the plot all twisted, and when it all comes together in the end it makes all the effort it takes to read it and figure everything out worth it. While this isn't the most complex time traveling I've encountered, it was still very interesting.

If I had read this book at a different time in my life, I will admit I might not have enjoyed it so much. Since I read it while I was emerging from the ashes of a reading slump, and since I had my own long distance relationship experience I believe my reading experience was enhanced. There were some explicit sexual scenes that I didn't care for, and some things that the characters did that I didn't care for. But I still think this is a solid four to five star book all the same. And if you think it's something that sounds interesting to you I would highly, highly recommend it!

Rating: ★★★★★
"Why is love intensified by absence?" -- Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife


  1. The title reminded me so much of Doctor Who. I guess my brain has a tick or something.

    Nicely written review, I must say.

    Take care!

    1. I mean Dr. Who is one of the best time travelers!
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Oh my goodness, what great timing! I just watched the movie a couple weeks ago and loved it. I just put the book on my TBR too!

    How is it that we’re almost always reading similar things lol??