Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of Disbelief: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Suspension of Disbelief is a weekly feature, in which we review movies, books, TV shows, and other popular culture for the skeptical teen.

Book Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife
Genre: Romance, Fiction
Author: Audrey Niffenegger

4 out of 5 Wedding Rings

Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife wasn’t necessarily the book I was expecting when I sat down to it. I’m a big fan of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, and thought that this book would play with a similar concept to that one, except on the end of the one left behind instead of the traveler himself. However, the book didn’t rely on futuristic technology or any classic sci-fi mechanisms. Instead, the author took a more unusual twist on time travel.

One of the main characters, Henry, has a strange genetic disease that causes him to move through time randomly. He doesn’t control where, or when. It just happens. It also happens that his path often crosses that of a girl named Claire. From her perspective, she’s known him her whole life. From his, he’s just getting to know her, both as an adult and a child. The book chronicles their complex, difficult, emotional, impossible friendship and romance, in an honest and real way.

Despite finding my expectations for this book completely off-base, I did quite enjoy it. Romance isn’t really my thing, particularly a more adult romance like this one (there are several somewhat explicit sexual scenes, so avoid this book if that bothers you). At times, the time travel aspect seemed like a bit of a stretch, and I wasn’t always comfortable with the interactions of adult Henry with child Claire, although there was never anything creepy that occurred. What this book does fantastically, though, is portray characters with extraordinary problems, reacting in very real and human ways. It is one of the few books that has made me cry, which is truly saying something. If you enjoy romances, but want a break from the 100% realistic scenarios that many romances contain, this book is likely one you’d enjoy.

As a footnote, I’ve also watched the movie based on this novel. I’d only give it 2 out of 5 rings… it really wasn’t very good. It cut out a lot of the parts of the book I’d really enjoyed, and just lacks the emotional impact I found while reading the novel. I’m far more likely to cry in a movie than while reading a book; this movie didn’t make me tear up at all. If you want to see it, it’s not horrid, but I wouldn’t encourage you to watch it. It’s just meh, while the book is good, leaning towards great.

Cover Image:
Wedding Ring Image: Microsoft Office ClipArt

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Ali Marie

Ali Marie

Ali Marie is a recent Master's of Education graduate, and is now venturing back into the world of non-traditional education, as an outreach program leader at a children's museum. Her interests vary widely, but include board games, music, dinosaurs, and science as a whole.

You can find Ali on Twitter, @ascientifica.


  1. June 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm —

    We love reviewing time-related wives…

    Sounds like an interesting read though. I’ll check the school library in the morning. And the movie wasn’t great, you’re right.

    • June 15, 2011 at 8:42 am —

      With the time wives… it’s kinda true… oops. My next review will not have anything to do with romance or time travel, I promise! 😛
      Hope you enjoy the book. If you saw the movie, you have some idea of what happens, but the book is much more fleshed out and “real”, in my opinion.

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