Chrono-Impairment Is Not For Me!

6 09 2010

I’ve known for a long time that I could never date or marry a man in the armed services.  I also couldn’t be with a police man, a fire man, or a truck driver.  Never knowing when he would come home, never knowing if he was safe, never knowing who else he was with.  I crossed all of those so-called ‘sexy jobs’ off of my datable list.  After reading The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger I also have to cross off the chrono-impared. 

Chrono-impared, according to the book (which I totally realize is a work of fiction), is a genetic condition or disease causing one to jump forward and backward in time.  Henry DeTamble spends his life hitting different parts of time.  He shows up naked and has to use his wits and skills to provide himself with clothing and food.  When he leaves he leaves his clothes behind.  Much of his life is spent running from various dangers and revisiting parts of his past and occsionally his future.  He is unable to change much, but does try to make the best of it. 

Clare, the other narrator in the book, is not chrono-impaired.  Like a normal human, she lives her life from beginning to end with no jumping about.  From the age of six she’s had a friend and angel in Henry.  Though she questions his naked appearance and improbability the first time she meets him they become secret friends.  As she grows up she in frequently frustrated with Henry’s refusal to answer any questions about her future or his past/future.  She grows to the age of 18 with only a few mishaps and then has to spend two years sans visit from Henry until they meet in real chronological time.  She will see him for the first time in two years and he will meet her for the first time in his entire life. 

Eventually they marry (hey, I’m not giving too much away since the title says she’s the time traveler’s wife) and Clare is left behind as Henry travels.  Sometimes he is gone for a few minutes, others for nearly a day.  She works as an artist and Henry as a librarian (when he’s not traveling) and they both work with a doctor to see if there is a possibility of a cure for Henry.  Later in their marriage they work with him and a fertility specialist to try to conceive a baby. 

Now I can’t tell you too much more about the storyline without really ruining the book.  Like normal life Clare and Henry have ups and downs.  Unlike normal life, Henry leaves in a blink to experience parts of his life out of order leaving Clare behind.  They have friends that know his secret as both a cover when Clare isn’t there, and as a support for Clare when Henry is away. 

The book is confusing at times since there is so much jumping back and forth in time.  A few times there are two Henrys in the same place in the same time at different ages.  Or two Henrys and a Clare and they are all different ages.  Also, with the jumping back and forth you occasionally don’t know why something happened until later and the puzzle piece clicks in. 

In all, it’s a very emotional book.  From the beginning my heart hurt for the love and the impossibility of the situation.  The end had me in tears.  I suggest reading this book with some kleenex.  It really reminded me of The Notebook, it was so emotionally wrenching.  Kleenex will be your friend if you pick up a copy to try. 

I’m working on a movie rental, though I’ve heard that the movie was really bad.  I’ll let you know if I ever get around to it. 

Next up is Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry.  It was in a lot of magazines as a summer reading choice.  We’ll see.