The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be older. Not older like 16 so I could drive or 21 so I could drink (though I did want to be 21 so I could get into bars and listen to live music). When I was 12 I wrote a poem about what it's like to be a parent. I still don't know whether it's accurate, but I like to think that it's at least close.
When I was 13 I wrote a poem looking forward to being rocking chair old. I still feel that way. The idea is that when I'm old and my life is behind me, I'll be left with the memories, and I could think back and say to myself, "See, I did that." I realized that many experiences are more fun or exciting in retrospect, and you don't have to worry about how they turn out. I can even use selective memory to weed out the bad parts and reminisce about the good ones.
In The Time Traveler's Wife, Henry has no control over when or where he will travel. There are hazards to this, mostly because when time traveling, he appears at his destination naked. But there are benefits, too. He gets to meet his wife in her childhood. He gets to know the future. He gets to visit times before his birth and after his death. He gets to experience his memories. This isn't really what the book is about, but it made me think.
It's an incredibly engaging and surprisingly realistic-sounding account of a relationship shaped by time travel. The story follows actual time and Claire's life roughly, though Henry of course jumps around a bit. It's a love story. I loved it.