Well it’s been quite a while since I wrote one of these, although that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the book, I’ve just had an unusually busy month and not as much time for reading as I would like. It does mean that I’m now 14 books behind on my reading challenge, which seems like a pretty tall mountain to climb, but I’m going to give it a good try.
The book was quite hard to get involved with in the beginning because the writing style was a little unusual, but once I got used to that the book was amazing. The glimpse into the story that you are given on the back of the book was just the tip of the iceberg. Mysteriously, you are told that “One day, a man claiming to be our hero’s future self tells him he must leave the love of his life”. In reality, this is just the start of a winding tale of the perils of trying to go back in time to alter the course of your life.
The book starts with our guy (we never find out his name) falling in love with a beautiful woman named Q. She’s the love of his life, and they are weeks away from getting married when his future self turns up out of the blue and announces that he has to break up with her. If he marries Q, they’ll have a child with an incurable genetic disease and it will destroy them both so completely that he should end it now before it can happen.
He can’t stand the thought of losing his child, so he does the unthinkable. He breaks up with Q. This part of the book has my favourite quote, when he wonders why I-60 (as he calls his future self) did not come back and prevent him from even meeting Q in the first place to save him the heartbreak.
“It would have been a lot less cruel to come before I ever met her.”
“No, that would have deprived you of the happiest moments of our life. I’m just trying to spare you the saddest.”
From here, I was unsure where the book would take us next. By this point, we are about half way through the book and it looks like it could fizzle out into a typical chick-lit book where he makes a pathetic attempt to get Q back because he’s realised that he’s done wrong.
But that’s when the story gets interesting. It turns out that I-60 is not the only visit he will get from his future. His next visit is from I-55, you guessed it, a 55 year old version of himself. This is where I was grateful to the author for making the guy a bit clueless about time travel, because I-55 explained it to him (and obviously for us too). I-55 is not simply I-60 but 5 years younger, he’s a completely different guy. The decision to leave Q set his life on a different course, but it turns out that this course was not much better than the first, and now I-55 wants him to do something different.
And on it goes from here. Every time he makes a decision and becomes happy with the way that his life is going, another I-Whatever turns up and tells him his future life is horrible and he needs to make a drastic change. At first it’s quite frustrating for him, but it turns slightly comical (for us, not for him) when he is asked to do one thing, then the next guy tells him that he needs to go back on that decision and do something completely different.
And that’s as far as I am going to go on the storyline because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone planning on reading it. There’s nothing worse than reading a review of a book and realising that there’s not much point picking up the book because you know how it’s going to end.
If I was going to describe the book, I’d say it was an epic love story with an underlying moral lesson about the ethics of time travel and the dangers of trying to meddle with your past. I guess it’s not really a relevant moral lesson for us since time travel is not possible (yet), but it certainly makes you think about the paths that your life can go down and the choices that you have made. For me it brought to mind the phrase ‘no regrets’.
On the back of the book, it was compared to The Time Traveller’s Wife, but I’d say that they are quite different books. Yes, they are both time-travelling romances, but the way that the love manifests itself in the two books is quite different. I can’t really say too much about what makes the book so romantic without ruining it, but I will say that the beauty of it brought a slight tear to my eye.
I’d heartily recommend this book firstly to anyone that enjoyed The Time Travellers Wife, because even though they are completely different, they both hold the same kind of specialness. And then to anyone who likes a love story with a bit of a twist, one that is well written and makes you think, rather than the usual chick-lit trashy style ‘love stories’. For all those people calling 50 Shades of Grey a love story, put the trash down and pick this up, this is a love story.