Welcome to the Stuff Book Club day, where the spotlight is on YOU. You're invited to post reviews of our book of the week in the comments section. I want to know your opinions and what you think makes a book great - or not.
"Don't you think it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?"
In my post about literary crushes, quite a few people mentioned afterwards that Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, is their perfect man.
While Henry does have many great points - intelligence, sexiness, creativity, devotion to one woman for life (crucial requirement for all romantic heroes) - I hated that Clare spent her entire life waiting for him and, consciously or not, he encouraged this.
Don't get me wrong, I adore this novel. It has all the ingredients of a really good read: thoughtful writing, something new to say about life, drama, tension, enough ambiguity to keep the reader guessing.
I also like how it plays around with the concept of destiny and fate vs free will. How much of Henry and Clare's love story is serendipity, and how much of it lay in the choices they made? It seems to me that the entire thing, from their first meeting in the library down to the final scene, was orchestrated by Henry - whose chrono-displacement (time travelling) disorder gives him the unfair advantage of knowing the future.
You could also argue that Clare was not passive at all. She did make strong decisions. But it's an infinitely inferior "choice" to be the one left waiting, and it is also debatable if she had any real choice but to become Henry's wife. Her idea of a dream man was shaped by the meetings she had with him from the time she was a child.
Despite all of this, The Time Traveler's Wife remains one of my favourite love stories. The scene in the library is the kind of meet-cute many bookworms dream of, exchanging numbers in between Shakespeare and Voltaire.
Going back to the original question at the beginning of this post, I think the answer depends on if you're a romantic, a realist or a fatalist.
So dear reader, which one are you?
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