A Most untraditional love story is the tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who involuntarily travels through times, and Claire Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Claire’s passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and breaks the bonds of love.
Now, I know this book is not YA, not even close, I’m recommending my younger readers watch the movie, fall in love with it and return to the book at a later date. Not because of the adult content (there is plenty of it, not grotesque, just adult) but because you will glean so much more older, when marriage, a baby, a career, your dreams, your story, your journey, adventure, masterpiece, when everything is a little less high school and a little more realistic.
This felt good, reading this book felt good to me, I love a good love challenging time itself book. It warms me, makes me believe in magic more than any paranormal book ever could. TTTW felt real, solid, and yet like sand, time itself, slipping through my fingers, page by page, as I inched my way through Henry and Clare’s lives, two lives, two paths, one love story.
I thought myself in the presence of time, like I was part of the story, but at the mercy of the elements leading me straight into the climax, and you can’t stop it, but life goes on.
This is nothing like a YA novel, and if you know you are pro-YA, have tried other books and they don’t work as well then I don’t recommend this book, where most all YA has a glossy finish, almost as if it belongs in an alternate reality (most likely because it revolves around high school) and this book was real. Henry and Clare led this life and you led it with them, each of them, one scrambled, jumping, and one steady, left behind, always waiting. You get to be both, but you have to have enough readers stamina to enjoy being both, it’s a long read, over five hundred pages, and it’s reality. I know, time travel isn’t reality, but everything else is, time travel just makes it more fun!
The whole book brings to mind the word ‘indie’ from the way the characters live, to the writing style, the characters and the dialogue, it still brings to mind a small, indie book, thought up by some super creative author who just so happened to become a best seller.
I love the movie too, I usually have a strict policy where if I have seen the movie, I won’t read the book, but I broke my own rule this time and read the book post-movie, because the movie hit something in my heart and clung to it. I’m not here to judge one over the other, but the movie had a softness where the book felt gritty, not gritty bad, just not soft and caressing on every page. I really loved both and watch the movie once a week it seems, I may even read this one again, someday, when I know even more about what love, family, life and dreams mean to me.
Notes on the Names: I loved every name, really and truly, the names made up so much of the adoration I developed for this book, and it’s something I missed out on in the movie. Instead of listing every name from the entire book, let me just say that the scene where Clare and Henry are trying to name their daughter is my favorite scene in the book. It’s picturesque, in a word.
Thoughts on the Cover: You can’t not love this cover, it captures the book entirely, and makes me mist up and smile when I stare at it too long, having finally been everywhere with Henry and Clare.