Friday, January 15, 2010

Food for Thought

The Time Traveler's Wife *****

I tend to avoid reading anything that even remotely resembles science fiction. It's a genre that has never appealed to me. That being said, I was making it a habit to avoid The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. I didn't bother reading the New York Times book review. I ignored it when I saw it on the end shelf at the library or in a book store display. I ignored it when it appeared on the best seller list. Need I say that it never appeared on my long hold list at the library? Yet, the book seemed to be presenting itself to me at every turn. Odd, no?

Then one day, it appeared in my hands, carefully wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a bow. A birthday gift...ughhh. I smiled graciously, did a little ooh-aah dance, said thank you, then tossed it in to a carton of books being packed for our move to Pennsylvania.

It was several weeks before the book surfaced again. I was rummaging through moving boxes stored in our unfinished home. I needed some books to read while we waited in a residence hotel for our house to be move in ready, so I tucked it into my tote bag.

That afternoon, I opened the book and started to read. The Walcott poem was the first glimmer of hope that I had for this being a good read. It appears before the dedication and a prologue. It was the first hook...the prologue was the second. A few pages into the first chapter, I was a goner. A love story was emerging. Sure it was a quirky love story with the time travel twist, but the characters were finely drawn and complex. With each passing page, I was drawn deeper and deeper into their story and their unique problem.

The two main characters are Clare, the wife, and Henry, the time travelling husband. Henry never knows when he'll be subject to moving though time or how long he'll be gone. He doesn't know if he'll be going back in time or forward. He starts popping in and out of Clare's life when she is only six years old. She brings him food and clothing, since he's always hungry after one of his passages, and also arrives naked. Some of the food she brings him is quite odd. She later confesses that she wanted to find out if there was anything he wouldn't eat.

Henry is due to appear on Clare's 18th birthday, and she prepares a picnic 'feast' for him. She doesn't know how to cook, and seems to have no desire to learn, so she puts together a rather odd assortment of prepared items from her parent's larder. It's all part of a seduction plan that only an 18 year old could plot. You'll have to read the novel to see how it plays out...

Henry does know how to cook, and when they meet in 'real time' and begin their adult courtship, he prepares a dinner for Clare's 21st birthday...vichyssoise and salmon. He wants to take care of Clare and cooking is one of his expression of his love.

By the time Henry is 43 and Clare is 35, he has had a glimpse of what the future has in store, and he begins worrying about leaving Clare alone. The couple also have a daughter, and he's concerned that he won't be there to take care of them. In an effort to prepare Clare for her future, he gives her cooking lessons. After Clare prepares her first meal, and realizes that she can now cook, she stares across the table at Henry and thinks, 'Don't leave me.'

I was rereading this book when the Food for Thought meme came about, and I'm now happy that I was. It was the perfect vehicle for me to join in the fun.

And just a closing thought...the perfect book can be like an abiding true love. You can be narrow minded and refuse to allow it to enter your life, but if it's meant to be, it will somehow find you and endure the test of time.

Please click on the Food for Thought button at the top of the page. It will take you to Once in a Blue Moon where our hostess has supplied a Mr. Linky connection to help you travel to other sites celebrating food and the written word.


  1. i cannot tell you how much i loved your review... i am just over the moon with your stunning recreations, beyond fantastic...

    i read this book many years ago before food for thought was in my head, to see your tender moments played out, well frankly it was a pitter patter moment for my heart. i read this on vacation in yellowstone, i could not put it down, i have never forgotten the elk singing out my window as i read this wonderful is so engaging for me to see others play with food for thought, truly i am beyond impressed with your wonderful meals, you must have had a fabulous time enjoying this!

    thank you so much for sharing, LOVED IT!

  2. i keep coming back to nibble... i was wondering if i could use one of your pics to share on food for thought, it will link back to your post. let me know, its too enchanting not to share again~

  3. TTTW is one of my faves. It is such a tender love story that stays with you forever. I loved your reaction to the book as a reader (Girl runs from book, Book pursues Girl, Girl gets Book). I find this fascinating as a reader and as an author--how the book we really need just won't take no for an answer.
    I'm looking forward to your next review!

  4. I've been curious about the TTTW book, but with my already teetering stack of unread book, have not added it to my collection. Your review has made my decision-I'll definitely read it. Your meal looks fab!

  5. what a wonderful review and the food was so scrumptious looking.
    Great review.... think it is out in a movie because I have heard the name of that recently somewhere, and think it is a movie.
    Anyway, you did a grand job on your review and your lovely pics.
    thanks for sharing,
    Blessings, Nellie

  6. It's funny.. I had seen the book and didn't get it either..It was offered to me in friendhship... and out of friendship I read it and loved it!! Sometimes you just need that illumination:)~

    Very nice post~

  7. Yes, I'm another who has resisted this book. But no longer! Your review has me hooked. Your approach to sharing the details with the shots of the prepared food is very effective. Great job! ~ Sarah

  8. What a wonderful review. Your food looks beyond delicious. Thanks for sharing the whole with us. I'll be back often.

  9. Wonderful post! The photos are great and the way you work with the book...fabulous!!!

  10. I loved this review...I read the book and loved it when it came out several years ago, and hadn't remembered the food vignettes. This makes me want blow the dust off my copy and crack it back open to revisit Clare and Henry!

  11. What a great review! Looks like I'll be putting this on on my list.

  12. What an awesome idea for a post! Well done and very enjoyable!

  13. I loved your review of the book, this is one I haven't read. Your meal along with the book looks delicious.. hugs ~lynne~

  14. I have this book but never finished it. Like u science fiction just isnt me but after reading your review I mite just go back to it .....those are amazing photos and I love how u showed even the preparation of the meal!

    Such a lovely and interesting review!!

  15. hi nancy, i am slow getting back to you when you asked "When will you be posting Mr. Linky for the next run?" i have been reading ;-)

    i will put it up friday night at food for thought from now on. if you know you are going out of town, send me an email with your links and i can enter them in mr linky for you, not a problem, i want everyone to enjoy as many books as possible!

    you did such a great job i come back and admire you again and again! i just read a book in the same vane and loved it~

    see you on the 30th!

  16. Thia is so lovely, I may even read the book. You have outdone yourself - - again.

  17. What a lovely website you have!! I can taste your delicious meals when viewing it. I highly recommend this book if you have not yet read it. "The School of Essential Ingredients" by Erica Bauermeister. It is a MUST for a professional foodie like you!

  18. What a great review and beautiful use of objects and print... this is so wonderfully evocative.. I want to read the book!!!

  19. I am not a sci-fi fan either, but I was fascinated by this book.
    You did it justice with your review, beautiful pics and delicious food. Nice post!


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