A(nother) Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Do you have a book case? Most people do in some form or another.

 

And I’m assuming because you are reading a blog about a book, then you do too. (Unless I’ve tricked you into coming to this website by adding in some random tags like ‘Beyonce’ or ‘Zoella’) Whether you have one book or a hundred, or twenty thousand (Jacqueline Wilson claimed this last week), you’ll have somewhere in your home that is the home for books.

 

But how many of you us ever re-read a book? I’ve got around 200 books on my bookshelf. All of them there for different reasons, they’re either signed books, or someone special gave them to me, or they remind me of a friend.

 

Or they’re just a very special book.

 

The truth is, apart from the Harry Potters last year, I don’t re-read any of them –  which kind of makes you ask… why do we keep them?

 

Maybe it’s the memories the bring back when we look at them on the shelf. Maybe it’s to show off to our friends… or maybe we know one day we’ll need them again.

 

I was recently in the mood for a book I could trust. I’d just finished Little Deaths which… I didn’t love. I found it hard going. It took me two weeks, when most books take me on average around five days.

 

In the middle, I read Tinman by Sarah Winman which I loved. So, I was left in a position where I was going to find it hard to find a book to match up to the one I’d just read and loved, but I needed to find that I knew I would enjoy more than the other one I’d just read.

 

So I turned to my book shelf for a book I could trust. And that’s where I found The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, a book that I hadn’t read in over twelve years.

 

For those hat don’t know, the plot concerns Henry DeTamble who first meet his wife, Clare, when he is 29 in the library he works in. She first meets him when he travels back in time and lands in the field outside her family home.

 

Henry is a time traveler, not through choice, but through a random genetic defect. He can’t control it, nor does he know the cause. Largely, he travels back to places along his own timeline.

 

This is the story of the Doctor and River Song long before Steven Moffatt came along, and told in a much simpler way. The trick, is not to follow the time traveler, but to follow time itself.

 

Niffenegger tells us the story of Henry and Clare in a largely chronological way, often this means that the Henry we see is both older and younger than the previous and subsequent versions of Henry that we’ll see.

 

At it’s heart, this is a love story, an exploration of fate versus free will. Like all good books, it explores that one emotion that binds us all. The one that defines all of our lives. Love.

 

And it’s just so effortlessly perfect, and simple, and sad and happy, and everything all at once. There are sometimes, just one too many peripheral characters to keep up with, but this is an inevitability when you’re exploring the whole lives of two people.

 

Re-reading The Time Traveler’s Wife was like a warm hug, like seeing an old friend. It sounds cheesy, but these are clichés because they happen.

 

If you’ve never read The Time Traveler’s Wife then it would always have been at the top of my recommendation list, so go read it now.

 

If you have read it before, maybe it’s a trip back in time (geddit?) and read it again? Alternatively, give your bookcase purpose again, visit it and pick up another book that you love, one that you trust, but haven’t read in years and rediscover the reason why you decided to keep it hanging around in the first place.

This Is Not About EastEnders

I get very easily distracted.

This isn’t new information, I’ve told you it before. Books, TV, computer games, alcohol, all of these stop me from writing.

Even now, it’s taken over fifteen minutes just to write these opening few sentences, and that’s because I’ve been watching Back to The Future (Part 2)

However, just because I’ve been distracted, doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything since the last time I updated you on my writing. I am making the assumption here that you care. If you don’t care, you’re likely not reading this blog anyway.

So what have I been doing?

For a while, actually not much. Work for me goes pretty crazy in the few months prior to Christmas, and this year has been no exception, especially with the lack of an assistant (something which is still causing me problems).

But I returned and blogged with a vengeance at the beginning of January with a post about the Lucy Beale murder mystery in EastEnders. That post went crazy with over a hundred visitors in one day.

In the course of January this year, my blog achieved fifty percent of the traffic is had achieved in the whole of 2014. It seems that people like to read about EastEnders almost as much as I enjoy writing about it.

I’m going to do a few more blog posts about pop culture where and when I can – it’s a great traffic driver and watching those stats go up certainly boosts your self confidence.

I also enjoyed writing the post and it helped me get my narrative juices back.

You may recall I sent out my novel – I sent it to six different agents last summer, and three people responded – all with no.

Then one of the negative responders came back asking to see more. Rather excited, I sent them the rest of the novel – and then came back with no.

So I’m officially putting the novel on rest again, but Memories of a Murder will live on in screenplay form, as I’m currently adapting it for submission to the Writers Room on the BBC website.

BUT… within the last week or so, an idea that has been bubbling under in my head for the better part of a year now, finally clicked into place and I worked out exactly what I was going to do.

“The Project” is under way, and best of all, at the end of it, I don’t need an agent, I don’t need a publisher, or a TV producer. It just needs a lot of hard work from me, and for me to be happy with the end result.

And then I’ll drop it like a Beyonce album, when you’re all least expecting it.

I have index cards, some new pens, blu tack, and a ball of string, and I’m ready to go.

And that’s all I’m telling you about it. For now at least. In the meantime, watch this space.

Or watch EastEnders.