I saw the movie back when it was in theaters (2009) and don’t remember much about it. Honestly, I went with a guy that ignored me the entire time and it was so awkward, mostly because Eric Bana’s butt is shown multiple times throughout the movie and the couple in front of us made out the entire time. Cue awkward silence!
So I went into this book basically not knowing anything, which was good because I couldn’t put it down some nights. The story is about a man named Henry with a rare “Misplaced Person’s” condition: he time travels involuntarily. Every time Henry gets stressed or anxious or even watches TV, he drops his clothes and appears in either the past or the future. His travels are usually followed by much throwing up and the need for nourishment immediately after.
Henry meets his wife for the first time when she is 6 years old, in 1977, and he is 36 from the year 2000. He frequently visits his wife, Clare, when she is young and he is older in this way, always appearing in the Meadow near her home. Over the years, Clare keeps track of every date that Henry comes to visit her and she eventually gives him the list when she meets him for the first time, as a 28 year old man. She has seen him all her life, but he never meets her until he’s 28 but starts to see her as a child when he’s much older. Quite confusing, I know.
The book spans several years, going back and forth from when Clare and Henry meet on his time traveling-excursions, to when they are newlyweds, to when they are older and trying to have a baby. The author does a great job of keeping the story line on track with the ages of each character and the dates at the beginning of each section. The story is linear, but it moves between flashbacks and real time. It keeps the story interesting and sometimes you have to figure out what Henry knows about his life and when.
I was drawn to Clare much faster than Henry. He’s kind of a douche-bag before he meets Clare, when he tries to find love in all the wrong places. But Clare has known her whole life that Henry is the man she will marry someday so she spends most of her teenage years waiting for her “boyfriend” that none of her friends have seen or would believe if they did.
As a reader, you feel sorry for Henry because he can’t control when he leaves and what he will see, especially when he sees hard times ahead for himself and Clare. He even finds out when he will die and how, almost like a cancer patient. I think I feel worse for Clare because she has to pick up his clothes when he disappears and she might see him in 10 minutes or 10 days. I couldn’t imagine living like that, not knowing when my husband will come home and what condition I will find him in (at one point, he gets beaten up and even gets frostbite on his time travels).
The book overall is a page-turner, sad, and well-written. For a debut novel, this is a good one. I would recommend this to the romantic.