The Time Traveler’s Wife

I finally did it! After reading 20 pages here and 20 pages there I finally finished reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. Check another one off the list!

Years ago my sister lent me her copy of the book, telling me I’ll love it. It sat on the book shelf forever. I don’t know, it just sounded 1. like a sci-fi book and I can’t stand reading sci-fi and fantasy books, and 2. It sounded like a romance novel and I don’t really do that really either. She added, it mentions things that you will enjoy like the Violent Femmes and Joseph Cornell.

At the beginning of the year, for some reason, I finally picked it up and read the first 20 pages.  I thought, ‘yeah, I might enjoy reading this’, so I added it to my 2009 list of things to complete.

I think what made me start reading it was the fact that I picked up the book and read on the back that the author Audrey Niffenegger is a professor at Columbia Book and Paper in Chicago, a place I’ve visited several times. A place I’ve dreamed of attending, a place I’m already on the mailing list for, and a place that has/had halls lined with letterpress type.

Almost immediately, I realized my preconceived notions of this book were incorrect. It was not what it seemed. It’s not really sci-fi, no time machines, I promise.

As I got into the novel, more and more references that hit close to home were revealed and I started thinking that this book might be “my perfect book”.  I’ve always said, if there was a perfect movie made just for me, it would have to be Amelie, and now I wonder if a perfect book was made just for me, it might be the Time Traveler’s Wife.

I loved reading about characters I could relate to and who’s interests are so close to my own. Clare, the time traveler’s wife, was a fiber artist and I’ve taken quite a few fiber arts classes in my day. I probably squealed while reading a section where the main character Henry is in the alleyway behind the Metro and can hear the Smoking Popes playing from inside. The Metro is the first concert venue I went to in Chicago as a 15 or 16 year old, and the Smoking Popes are a band I’ve followed far and wide to see around Northern Illinois. Clare has an art show at the Cultural Center, a building close to my own heart and that I almost always stop in while visiting Chicago. The Cultural Center has an Art-o-mat and they always have several art galleries with excellent shows going on absolutely free.  On the last day that I was reading there was a tie-in to my city, DeKalb. Clare visits a record store in the city and sees a guy wearing a Seven Dead Arson shirt. Seven Dead Arson was a record store/label downtown DeKalb while I was in high school, and bands would play often in their basement. My brother reminded me yesterday that the owner was Ethan Hastert.

This month a movie of The Time Traveler’s Wife will be appearing in movie theaters across the country. If I had not read the book and only saw the commercials I would probably NEVER see this movie. It looks like your typical Message in a Bottle and The Notebook romance schlock. All of this romance movie comparison started making me wonder, “Is the book just a sappy romance novel, and I just got hoodwinked by the disguise of all the local references to the Field Museum, Brookfield Zoo and Chicago Street names?” When I first started reading the book I would have said emphatically NO. It was a smart novel, with plenty of educated and cultural references as well as an advanced time line. Although I had no problem, I could see that it might be hard to follow with the way the storyline skipped around, following one character and then another at different points in time. Is it just a romance novel, or no? I have to admit the closer I got to the end of the book, the more the idea crept into my head. Perhaps it was seeing too many of the commercials tainting my perspective. I also blame Kelly now too. I was telling some friends that they should read it, and my friend Kelly, who’s opinion I think highly of, said she had already read it and she just seemed so unimpressed with the book. I guess to really decide I’ll have to think more about it. Will this book leave any significance on history and our culture? Does it challenge and make its readers think in ways they might not have thought before? I guess you’ll have to read it to decide for youself. Have you already read it? Let me know what you think. Haha, I feel like I need to join a book club just devoted to this book, lol. I do have to admit, I am excited to see the movie now, just in hopes that the Violent Femmes make an appearance and well, Eric Bana isn’t too hard on the eyes either.

On a completely different note: Tomorrow I will begin my August Challenge of creating a new piece everday (Monday – Friday) and listing it to my shop. Come back to check it out, and if you feel so inspired, please join in and create something new each day as well.


Hi, I'm Robyn and I was Hatched from a Kinder Surprise Egg. Graphic Designer by day, Maker of things by night. I have worked as a graphic artist professionally since I was 16 years old. Went on to get my Bachelors of Art from NIU. I like to share my Artwork online at and on my own personal website I also have an online shop where you can find more of my "crafty" sorts of things, as well as a random piece of artwork here and there. Oh, and I'm also an occasional contributor to Artomat (

7 thoughts on “The Time Traveler’s Wife

  1. I don’t read romances very often. Ick- too syrupy. I am not into real sci-fi. However- I love this book. It is one of my favorites. I don’t think it will leave any particular significance, but I do think it makes readers (especially typical romance reading females) realize that a romance doesn’t need to be what we’ve been fed all these years.

    At the school where I teach- we started a book club this past year and sometimes get together to meet. This was one of our selections. One of our male coworkers actually joined us because he is a sci fi buff and I told him it wasn’t a typical romance. He said he enjoyed it but would never classify it as a science fiction novel. The women in my group who are romance readers didn’t like the structure of the story- all the jumping around. I don’t think it’s a book for everyone.

    I’m glad you liked it. I have been to Chicago a few times and recognized some places, but it seems you have a real connection to it! That’s very cool. It’s sort of like when I read Jennifer Weiner (the closest I get to romance!) because she writes about the Philadelphia area and I have been to many of the places she includes in her stories.

    I am torn about the movie. You know the movie rarely lives up to the book. And I don’t particularly think Eric Bana is a good actor. I’ll wait to see what other people think before I waste money.

  2. I enjoyed your post, Robyn. I haven’t read this, but because you are hesitant about the film, I wanted to say, don’t be so sure it won’t live up to the book. I’ve seen movies I liked a lot, Forest Gump and The Firm come to mind. Reading The Firm made me crazed, especially because everyone I talked to loved it to the point of not being able to put it down. I will never understand it. I thought it was Godawful. Forest Gump was even worse. Although, I am in total awe and admiration for the person who pulled that screenplay/film out of that nothing story. But my favorite is Wonder Boys. I adore that film and we watch it regularly. And Chabon is a highly rated author, so I read the book and it has it’s good moments. He’s a gifted writer for certain & I do love his style, but,to me, the film is so much better because I love character development (over story). The film characters were so much quirkier, interesting and I was invested in them. A book with a protagonist I see going nowhere is really blah.

    I’m sure a million people will disagree with me and a million more will agree so you have every chance of loving the film or being disappointed. :)

    I hope you’ll write again after you see it. I’m still thinking about joining you in your August challenge. Looking forward to seeing your 20 some creations. woo hoo

  3. i love the time travellers wife! i actually just reread it in case I go and see the movie. it’s funny because I think a lot of the reasons I enjoyed it are similar to yours: the chicago references, the artist bits. also, the first time i read it I was on a vacation in michigan in a place that reminded me of clare’s hometown.

    I definitely don’t think of it as a schlocky romance novel (i seriously can’t stand nicolas sparks) i think it’s partially because I don’t find Henry to be one of those unrealistically sweet and loveable male characters. he has some character flaws that make him different than a run of the mill romance novel guy

  4. Sounds like an interesting novel so I’ll have to put it on my list of books to be read. Nice article. Thanks for sharing the information.

    Check out my first and recently released novel, Long Journey to Rneadal. This exciting story is a romantic action adventure in space.

  5. I hope I didn’t ruin your opinion…boo on me! Maybe I just read this book at the wrong time in my life. Everyone I know loves this book, which makes me think I need to read it again.

    On another note, hopefully we can have a craft night soon. I realized after you left that I should have swiped the baby from Mark so we could hang out with him for awhile (daddy was trying to give me a child free moment to clean up). I know you didn’t get to see Zae for more than a second and came all the way back after your dinner to see him…sowwy. He LOVES the blocks by the way. Currently his favorite game is knocking down my buildings, wall, etc. wee!

  6. Weird. Weird, weird, weird. I’m in a book club and they just decided to read that book. I feel like we’re on the same wavelength or something. I’m more curious now to read it now that I heard you enjoyed it for the most part. I too had no interest in it after hearing the plot overall and previews of the movie. Maybe I’ll have to give it a second chance.

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