Review: How to Stop Time

35411685“That’s the thing with time, isn’t it? It’s not all the same. Some days – some years – some decades – are empty. There is nothing to them. It’s just flat water. And then you come across a year, or even a day, or an afternoon. And it is everything. It is the whole thing.”

Author: Matt Haig
Category: Speculative Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 325
Publication Date: February 6th, 2018

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Tom Hazard was born in the late 1500s…and is currently a history teacher in 21st century London. Born with a rare condition which brings aging almost to a halt starting at the onset of adolescence, Tom changes his life every decade and starts over somewhere new so that no one will recognize him and suspect that he is all but immortal.

But with the digital age and photographs that is getting harder and harder.

I really did not enjoy this book quite as much as I wanted to.

This was probably in large part because I think the synopsis way overplays the romance aspect of the story which was a big part of why I was looking forward to reading this book. I was looking for something like The Time Traveler’s Wife or Age of Adaline where these big questions are certainly asked about what it means to be human and how experiencing the passage of time differently alters a person but also has a big romantic tilt as well.

The questions asked are exactly the same as they are in similar stories so nothing new there and the romance honestly felt a little bit forced. I never once felt chemistry between Tom and Camille. I liked her okay but their relationship was never the point of the story. Tom’s search for his daughter is the actual point of this story and I kind of wish that the whole Camille plotline had been ditched in favor of focusing 100% on the daughter storyline.

The one thing that I probably did truly enjoy from this story though were Tom’s flashbacks to his past and all the different times in  history that he has lived through. Meeting stars like Shakespeare and Fitzgerald and just witnessing various times through Tom’s eyes was for me the best part of the book.

This is somewhat shadowed by the fact that I kind of hated how short the chapters were and thus how quickly the story would shift from flashback to present day. More often than not, I felt like the shifts took place too quickly for me to be able to engage in whatever was happening in either timeline.

All in all, this book was just okay. I was expecting more from it but really it was the same thing that I think we get out of other books of the same type.



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