Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"January"'s Book: Time Keeper

Being behind on Book a Month looks a lot worse than being behind on Book a Week. I assure you I'll be back where I need to be in no time. The new font is thanks to not copy/pasting it here from RYM.


Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
Fantasy (2012 - 224 pp.)

I'd read quite a bit of Mitch Albom's work for the Detroit Free Press (an inevitable consequence of having watched so much Pistons basketball in their mid-2000s heyday) but never any of his fiction. Time Keeper follows the concurrent stories of Dor, a man who becomes Father Time; Sarah, a seventeen-year old high school in New York City; and Victor, an exceedingly wealthy octogenarian who also lives in New York City. The lessons they are able to teach each other, especially the ones the fantastically doomed Dor teaches the urbanites, form the basis of the book's substance. Most of the time Albom builds up to these moments by humanizing the characters through background stories that portray life in New York City, or in Dor's case, that inject prehistoric fantasy. (One offshoot of this is that Albom gives himself a perfect opportunity to use the word "karst".)

Overall, I thought it was well-written and interesting, albeit lacking that it factor that made a book like Night Circus so endearing. As much as I enjoyed it, I feel like having not read it wouldn't have altered my life much. Albom's characters are good, realistic fits; Sarah, for example, feels like a believable teenage girl. His settings are good, reflecting their surroundings yet not overly dense for this type of writing. The plot felt already done, which is my main qualm with what ended up being a good page-turner. The didacticism is a bit of  a turnoff for such a light read yet it is of a relatively benign variety (e.g.: the reader isn't stuffed full of political protests or anything) so it doesn't affect the reading experience much. Albom's faith is evident throughout, which I personally like but may not resonate so much with other readers.

The best quotation from Time Keeper occurs near the end, during an exchange between the eponymous character and one of the people he discovers. It happens near the end of the book but doesn't spoil anything, unless you thought a charming Christian easy read would be killing off characters A Song of Ice and Fire-style.

DOR: "There is a reason God limits our days."
VICTOR: "Why?"
DOR: "To make each one precious." (206)

If you have a night free and are a fan of Albom's work, check this out.

Ease of Reading: 10
Educational Content: 2

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