Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Time Keeper - Mitch Albom

It seems appropriate that my 100th post should be about this book, considering its title.  I can hardly believe that I have reached this milestone.  In many ways, this blog has been a bit of a time keeper for me.  In its short life, it has seen my engagement and marriage, as well as a job transition.  I have every intention of it seeing many more life changes as well.  I love this little blog and am continually looking for ways to expand it and grow readership.  On that note, what do you want to see here?  If I expand my postings beyond book reviews, what content would you like to see?  Keep in mind, I do want to remain true to the theme of reading and writing.  

Mitch Albom's novel does revolve around time and the value of it.  That, however, is as far as I will take the connections to the blog.  Albom's story is an interpretation of Father Time.  Dor, who becomes the inspiration for the mythical character, lives in an ancient time.  Without ever saying it specifically, Dor's life is set at the same time as the building of the biblical tower of Babel.  Dor becomes fascinated with the passage of time and is the first person to monitor it.  Thus, he is the first time keeper.

God, or some higher being, is not pleased that Dor has brought concern with time into the world.  As we all know, mankind becomes more and more obsessed with tracking time.  As punishment for his part, Dor is doomed to centuries of life in a cave listening to the prayers of those wanting more time.

He eventually is brought into the modern world and comes into contact with Sarah and Victor.  Sarah is a nerdy teenager seeking the affections of a popular boy several years older than herself.  Victor is a dying millionaire preparing to be cryogenically frozen.  To condense the story into one line: Dor brings them together and teaches them the true value of time and life.

Albom writes well.  He has has a nice cadence and voice.  He portrays the emotion of his characters well.  Still, he certainly is not attempting to write the next great American novel.  The book is a quick read; I finished it in a few days.  

I realized upon picking it up that Albom also wrote Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the feel-good novels each from a few years back.  Knowing that now, The Time Keeper makes perfect sense.  The three books all fall into the same genre of quasi-Christian literature.  Somehow, Albom has created his own little niche in this corner of the market.  He does not belong alongside the many awful novels shelved in Christian bookstores.  Yet, he also has not quite separated himself from the pack.  He retains that same feeling in his prose; he continually returns to a strong element of "happy endings once everyone has learned the moral of the story."  That's not necessarily a bad trait, but it also veers dangerously close to cliche.  

I recognize The Time Keeper as a front runner in its own genre.  Albom has surpassed many of his cohorts.  Still, I feel something missing and cannot quite put my finger on what that might be.  Whatever it is, I rarely see it in this genre of fiction, which is why I steer clear in the first place.  I think my tastes are simply too dark for such apropos stories and clean endings with a bow neatly tied around them.

Do you enjoy this genre of literature?  What crucial element do you think is missing?

Pages: 224
Date Completed: July 27, 2013

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