For this installment of Book vs. DVD, I did something a little different. Instead of reading a book, I listened to an audiobook. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger tells the story of a man who is, as Kurt Vonnegut so elegantly put once, “unstuck in time.” Since the age of 9, Henry DeTamble regularly found himself naked in an unfamiliar place and time, visiting strangers, his loved ones, and occasionally himself, several years in the past or future. When Henry is 28 and working as a librarian in Chicago, he meets Clare Abshire, a beautiful woman who tells him that they’ve met before, despite Henry not remembering. As a man, Henry has time traveled to Clare’s childhood, and it is there that she first met him. The book contains chapters alternately told by Henry and Clare detailing their stages of courtship and married life, including their attempts to find a cure for Henry’s condition and trying to have a baby. This beautiful and at times heartbreaking story is well-told by audiobook readers William Hope and Laurel Lefkow, who evoke such emotion into their telling of the story that it’s hard not to feel like a part of Henry and Clare’s story.
The movie version of The Time Traveler’s Wife follows fairly closely with the storyline of the book. Henry and Clare are played by Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, respectively, and both were very close to what I imagined when listening to the audiobook. The two have beautiful chemistry that feels very true to Henry and Clare’s relationship in the book. The only changes that are made to the story are certain scenes from the book being shortened or completely cut out. This isn’t surprising, as the book is rather lengthy and a film true to that would have been several hours long.
After trying out both the book and the DVD, I have to say that I was left a little disappointed by the movie. Though it is well-acted and the story is incredibly romantic to see unfold before your eyes, something just feels missing once you’ve read the book. Parts of Clare and Henry’s story are left out or rushed over, and I was left longing for them. I would highly recommend that anyone who wants to watch the movie check out the audiobook or the book version of The Time Traveler’s Wife first, because it helps to fill in those little details that you might be confused without. But of course, no movie can be a perfect adaptation of a book, and I felt that this one did a fairly decent job.