Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Roecker vs. Niffenegger

Well, I finished The Time Traveler's Wife and I have to admit that it wasn't all bad. There were definitely things I liked about the book, and by the time I finished it felt a little bit like I was competing directly against the author, Audrey Niffenegger.

Great concept for a novel: Point goes to Niffenegger
-I may not have liked the execution all that much, but I have to admit that the time travel twist makes for a very innovative take on the love story.
Niffenegger 1 Roecker 0

Slow starter: Point goes to Roecker
-So many people who are critical of this book, claim they just couldn't get into it. It's well written, but the first 150 pages just seem superfluous to the book itself. I understand that she wanted us to see the full story from where it began (with Clare as a 6-year-old), but it really just wasn't that interesting.
Niffenegger 1 Roecker 1

I finished the book in 3 days: Point goes to Niffenegger
-As critical as I'd like to be of this book, I finished the whole damn thing in a few days. Whether I'd like to admit it or not, I was hooked.
Niffenegger 2 Roecker 1

The book was 518 pages: Point goes to Roecker
-I think this would have been a better book if you took out about 200 pages. There's just so much detail and very little of it was actually compelling. I found myself skimming paragraphs just to get to an actual plot point.
Niffenegger 2 Roecker 2

The book made me cry: Point goes to Niffenegger
As a mother, there were certain aspects of the book that really tugged at my heartstrings. These portions of the book were extremely well written and definitely kept me turning the page, eager to find out what was going to happen next.
Niffenegger 3 Roecker 2

The book was depressing: Point goes to Roecker
Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying that all books should be filled with sunshine and rainbows. In fact some of my favorite books, The Lovely Bones and The Book Thief for example, are pretty heavy books. But here's the key, they managed to end on a note of hope. Even in the most hopeless of scenarios the authors infused just the tiniest promise of better things to come that it made the sad stuff more poignant while avoiding the horrible I-should-be-on-suicide-watch-after-reading-this-book-syndrome. Bottom line, The Time Traveler's Wife is essentially about a woman waiting around for a man to show up and *spoiler alert* when he stops showing up, her life sort of just grinds to a halt. This depresses me. Not suicide watch levels of depression, but enough to leave a sour taste in my mouth.
Niffenegger 3 Roecker 3

The book was a RAGING success: Point goes to Niffenegger
-Thousands of book clubs across the country have discussed this book. The movie is one the most anticipated films premiering this summer and girlfriend just scored a $4.5 million advance for her next novel. Even more fascinating to me is that Niffenegger kept her day job throughout the success of her debut because she didn't want to feel pressured to write her second book. And while she most certainly could have sold her second book off a proposal, she waited until the manuscript was complete. Yeah, I'd say that paid off. If you're interested in the full story, check this out.
Niffenegger 4,500,003 Roecker 3

So, safe to say that Niffenegger took this one. Quite handily, I might add. This is one of those books that just didn't work from me, although I can see why other readers might have loved it. Welcome to the subjectivity that is reading and writing. I'm actually wondering if this will be one of those rare occasions where I'll enjoy the movie more than the book (see below for the trailer).

Of course there are about 4.5 million reasons for you guys to completely ignore my little review and for Audrey to laugh in my face.

Well played, Niffenegger. Well played.


Unknown said...

Wow! The preview looks really good! I haven't read the book, yet, guess I should pick it up before the movie comes out.

Sarah Wylie said...

Ugh...and you were *this* close!

I need to read that book, preferrably before the movie comes out. And I love that she kept her day job, but now I'm kind of thinking it might be safe for her to quit.

Jeannie Lin said...

Loved this book to pieces! I'm surprised you read it in 3 days. It was an all nighter for me. Very sad, but, in a way, oddly hopeful.

The last scene resonated with me for a long time, giving me the sense that the love story never really ends.

lisa and laura said...

This was an all-nighter for me as well. I was pregnant with Lydia at the time (maybe that's why?), but I loved it. And I thought it was hopeful too!


But I'm glad Niffenegger came out on she should have :)


When I saw the movie trailer, I almost cried. Same thing happened the second go around. So I thought, "Wow ... I must read this book!" I went over to Amazon and read a couple of sample pages. (I must admit; I'm one of those. I do judge a book by the first 700 words or so.) And ... I just couldn't get in to it. Sigh. Maybe this will be one of the rare occasions that I just watch and enjoy the movie, instead of comparing it to the book and seeing that it comes up short.

$4.5M?? Wow. Just, wow... It's great to see authors still succeeding in today's market, isn't it? (*bitchslaps jealousy monster on her shoulder)

Sara Raasch said...

I haven't read the book, but the movie trailer looks SO GOOD!

Christina Lee said...

oooh glad for this- it has been on my list to read- and I think I still will!

Anonymous said...

In the end, you just can't argue with his success!

Jen said...

Seriously loved this post! Time Traveler's Wife, not so much. You nailed all the reasons why this book just didn't do it for me. I do wonder if I'd feel differently if I read it again. I think it is the kind of book that would be much better the second time around.

Elana Johnson said...

Seriously, I thought you were going to pull this one out. *grins*

Eva said...

Wow, the movie looks really good. Sort of makes me want to go back and read the book again....

PurpleClover said...

Wow the movie looks great. I will definitely see it. But I think I will pass on the book. I'm not a big love story reader. I read Nights in Rodanthe and that was about it. Never even read the Notebook. Granted those are both Sparks but still, it seems like a similar kind of storyline. Love and tragedy. Those are more movie type stories for me. :)

Kimberly Derting said...

I haven't read the book, but the trailer does look pretty awesome. I gotta say, my interest is definitely piqued...despite all of Lisa's whining.

lisa and laura said...

Kat - I would be interested in what you think of the book if you do read it, so let me know.

Sarah - I know, right? So close, but so far away. Definitely read the book and let us know what you think. Just recognize that you'll essentially be choosing between Team Lisa and Team Laura. Just so you know, on team Lisa we serve Twizzlers.

Jeannie - I think this must be one of those love/hate kind of books. The last scene to me just sort of pissed me off. More waiting! I wanted to scream.

Laura - What. Ev. Go read The Red Tent or something.

Jess - That trailer is pretty impressive, right? And I agree, it's amazing to see a relatively new author succeed in her career like that. I'm not even jealous because a $4.5 million advance seems a little out of our league...

Sara - I love Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana too. The casting seems perfect. Can't wait to see it on the big screen.

Christina - Definitely still read and let us know what you think. Remember, Team Lisa is serving Twizzlers. Laura will probably make you wear a tiara or something.

Christine - Yeah, it's really tough to argue with 4.5 million reasons, isn't it?

Jen - I have no desire to read this book ever again. I honestly think I'd have liked it more if the pacing were a bit faster. It just seemed to drag...

Elana - Yeah, I was thisclose.

Grey - I'm super excited for the movie. Laura and I will go see it together and post a little joint review. I'm sure there will be fighting and Twizzlers involved.

P-Clo - I hate Nicholas Sparks with a passion, but I loved the movie The Notebook. It's a Gosling thing. I love Rachel McAdams too. I really wish they would get back together.

Kimberly - Based on your whining comment, I'm going to go ahead and assume that you've gone with Team Laura. I hope your tiara gives you a wicked headache.

Samantha said...


I don't want to cry now. I'm thinking happy thoughts. I'll hold off on this one...for a little while.

Jill Wheeler said...

I'm listening to TTTW in the car these days, so I skipped over most of your post, just in case there were spoilers. I am enjoying it, but it seems like it could be tighter.

Hardygirl said...

Okay, so now I totally have to read it. I'm that conflicted about whether I'll like it or not.

Ha! My word verification is "vomat".


Tess said...

I disagree -- all books should be filled with rainbows and butterflies. Even if they are eaten by zombies :D

Sherrie Petersen said...

Love that trailer! And as I recall, I read that book from cover to cover without stopping to breathe ;)

So are you going to see the movie?

Suzette Saxton said...

My most favorite book. Ever. (And this coming from the gal who couldn't get through (dare I say it) Twilight because it was so slow.

Even the preview made me tear up - gonna have to watch this one in a theater with a box of kleenex.

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