The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

October 25, 2013

time keeper Plot summary (from the publisher): n Mitch Albom’s newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world’s first clock is punished for trying to measure God’s greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world–now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began–and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • After getting mired in several exceedingly long books recently, I was thrilled to come across something as blissfully short as The Time Keeper. Unfortunately, this was one of the book’s very few merits.
  • I’m glad Dor was able to prevent Sarah from committing suicide. Teenage suicide — especially over something as ephemeral as “true love” gone awry — is such an incredible waste. I was happy to see Sarah go on to become a doctor and do great things with the life she almost threw away.

Disliked:

  • There were so many boring patches in this book! For as short as it was, it nevertheless dragged in many places because there just wasn’t very much happening.
  • Albom’s tone comes across as incredibly preachy in this novel. I’ve read other stuff by him (I think), and don’t recall being this put off by his prose style. But after The Time Keeper, I am not too keen to read anything else by him.
  • The overall message was very simplistic, cliched, and obvious. Humans are given a limited number of days so they can appreciate the time they have (unlimited time makes each day as inconsequential as the next). Stop “counting down” your days and start enjoying what’s most important to you (family, friends, etc.). Who doesn’t know that already?!

Rating:

I remember seeing The Time Keeper at the top of the NY Times Bestseller list for weeks and weeks (and weeks) upon its release last year, and made a note to check it out of the library when it became available. I was expecting a decent story with a powerful message, which is what Albom has been known to deliver in the past. But this title just doesn’t live up to the author’s reputation, IMO. The plot is incredibly thin, the characters are stereotypes, and the message is overly simplistic. I give this book 2 stars out of 5.

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