Recently I read "The Time Traveler's Wife" with acclaim from the following:
A Today Show Book Club Selection
NY Times Bestseller
LA Times Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Bestseller
Washington Post Bestseller
Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club
Some words of praise included:
"Moved to Tears"
"Original Love Story"
"They will break your heart"
You get the picture.
So, wow, I thought, this book is going to be fabulous. From the first page, I started to wonder. The prologue was convoluted, but I knew my questions would eventually be answered. And they were. But I kept waiting and waiting for the reviewers praise to ring true. Henry was interesting, unique and quite enjoyable. His flaws were endearing, especially in his unpredictable circumstances. But the ball deflated with Clare. I wondered if a simple "show, don't tell" might be applied to her character to make us feel like she is real. As it was, she was a reporter--telling us what happened with little emotion. If she was upset, she told us that she cried, but there was no emotional build-up. No thought process that led to her sorrow or angst, or whatever the case.
The plot itself was great. The concept original to a point (unless you compare it to other time-traveler books). And the sub-characters were also well-defined. I just don't understand how Clare got lost in the mix. I also didn't understand why the author used such gratuitous language for most of the characters, when the story was strong without it. Some of the themes were also disturbing, but it was the graphic language of the book that finally stopped me cold. I was surprised that it had come so highly recommended, with no mention or warning.
With all my complaints about Clare, I was willing to forgive and continue reading . . . until she did something so out of character (with what character I thought was intended for her) . . . with no regret or penalty or "soul"--if you will. It seemed she gave up everything to "wait" for Henry. She was a real martyr right? Yet in the end she had no qualms about hurting those closest to her.
I'd love to hear other opinions. I don't officially review books and I'm not about to start. But this one lit a fire I couldn't put out. It made me seriously wonder how much we can depend on national reviews for giving us a decent picture of what to expect. Or is it the good ole boys system that's in place?