Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time ruined me for all time travel books, and she ruined me young. It booted Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from its place of honor beneath my pillow, and for a while became the only book in the world. After the final sentence, I’d flip to the beginning and sink back in. It may even be the reason why I’m okay with one-sided relationships. Kristen Wiig is my bff. We have fun.
My boyfriend brought The Time Traveler’s Wife movie home from the library, not because it’s romantic and February 14th dictates you have to pucker up to all things love, but because he’s BBC Boy. Somehow BBC boy made it to his 30’s without once seeing many cinema classics – The Goonies, all my favorite up-all-night horror movies, and Back to the Future. I made it my mission to enlighten him and now he has a thing for time travel stories.
We watched the movie, but I had to hurry up and read the book first. That’s the natural order.
Henry and Clare’s love story is complicated. The first time they meet, she’s 6 to his 36. She’s clothed and he’s buck naked (apparently the etymology of “buck naked” is lost to time). Every time he travels, he arrives completely in the buff, a potentially humorous flesh fest hitch that proves to be inconvenient and often dangerous. If this were an 80s movie, serious Henry would have a goofy-but-brilliant mentor to supply hilarious montages of cool tricks and lessons. But it’s not and he doesn’t. He’s on is own; everything he knows, he learns on his bare feet.
At 36, Henry’s been traveling back to his growing Clare, as well as to his younger self to teach him how to steal and fight and other skills he’ll need to survive as he arrives wherever, whenever au naturel.
I feel an almost maternal longing to go solace the strange boy who is becoming the man before me, the one who kisses me and leaves me with an admonition to be nice.
When younger-than-36 Henry meets 20-something Clare for the first time, it’s Clare’s turn to fill him in on their past. Or her past and his future – the past present Henry has yet to travel back to experience. The logic is consistent and the puzzle pieces of their love story fall into place.
Overall, I didn’t 1) buy Henry as a badass 2) like either character and 3) care for the over-romanticized tone. Plus I got really tired of hearing about Clare’s lustrous hair. Why do love interests in adult novels never have bad hair? Give us some frizz. And the rhythm is annoying as Clare’s always waiting and Henry’s always disappearing, sometimes to suck face with younger younger Clare and, other times, to dangerous situations, always going and returning in his birthday suit.
I did like the end, which says a lot, but for me the awesome premise fell flat. The movie likewise took itself too seriously and made me sleepy.