August 17, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

What's the worst book you've read recently? (I figure it's easier than asking your all-time worst because, well, it's recent)

I hate to say this is the worst book I've read recently but . . . it has been the worst book I've read recently.

Maybe I had exceedingly high expectations because I heard glowing reviews from elsewhere on the net and from girlfriends and had heard that this was a book of the month pick but I was disappointed with Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. On paper, the premise is splendid. The story is about how Henry, a librarian, meets Clare when she is just a young girl (although to his mind, they didn't meet until he was 28 and she was 20) and the two manage to fall in love. This isn't your typical love story because the major hurdle isn't the age difference - - it's that Henry is a time traveler. And not just any time traveler - - he cannot control when and where he will go.

I am a sucker for any type of time traveling story and have been since seeing Somewhere in Time and reading Richard Matheson's Bid Time Return. I think the idea of time travel is intriguing and leaves both the author and the reader with so many possibilities.

But Ms. Niffenegger really dropped the ball here. I didn't dislike Clare or Henry but I didn't particularly like them either. Perhaps it was that general indifference that kept me from really being moved by the story or feeling as though this was a heart wrenching love story for the ages.

Henry's time traveling actually got repetitive for me - - and never mind present day Henry running into past or future Henry. Talk about confusing.

The biggest problem with The Time Traveler's Wife in my opinion was how heavy-handed and bogged down the book seemed to get. I felt as though it lost a great deal of its energy about halfway through, becoming more a tale about Clare dealing with Henry's sudden absences and her resulting anger and depression.

I stuck with it and finished it - - but I was glad when the story ended. Never a good sign of an engaging book with wonderful characters.

My grade: C-


Sarbear said...

I felt the same way!

D Swizzle said...

Really? I rather enjoyed the book...ah, to each one's own.

Anonymous said...

I run into the same problem of having too high of expectations of a book and it not living up to it. This happened to me for this one also. I like it but it I certainly didn't love it like so many others.

Lori Johnston said...

Isn't it awful when you have such high expectations and the book (or movie) just doesn't live up? Sigh. Not a bad book by any stretch, but one that I quickly forgot and moved away from.

Lori Johnston said...

Dannie, I know a handful of people who just loved this book. I thought maybe something was wrong with me at first! :)

Alyssa Kirk said...

Thanks for such an honest review. I have heard so much about this book that I'm afraid that I'll be disappointed.

FYI...if you like time travel books, check out a very old Dean Koontz book called Lightning. My mom put me onto this when I was a young teenager and I loved it. I'm not so crazy about Koontz current stuff, but this one I highly recommend.

MyBookBuds said...

I was part of the population that didn't care for the book either. The premise was good, but something just didn't click for me.

I thought something was wrong with me because I didn't love it.


SariJ said...

Sorry to hear so many did not like it. I cried and cried after it ended. I have not cried over a book since A Prayer for Owen Meany.

A lot of my book loving friends agree, you either love this book or hate it.

Lana said...

I thought the book was heavy-handed, too - and it seemed a bit snobby to me with its references to 'real' punk music and all the Rilke. But my main trouble with it was that I didn't like any of the characters, and I never saw Henry and Clare fall in love...