Wednesday, May 7, 2014

[Book Review] The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

The sole reason that I bought this book was because I wanted another good read from Mitch Albom, after his widely popular "The Five People You Meet In Heaven". The premise itself sounds interesting, about a man who wanted to measure time, and in the end having to atone for his so called "sins" by being Father Time, and helping two people trapped by the notion of time.

While I find the story behind the book interesting to read, I cannot help but feel that the story itself is heavily overlaid by the message that Mitch Albom was trying to send: that we should treasure time. In his effort to tell us that, the characters and backstory that he constructed was predictable and lacked in depth, fitting solely into a one dimensional type of character.

Compared to the Five People You Meet In Heaven, I felt the story given to the characters were just a brief glance through, without really going in to their story. In the end I had three main characters that I found it hard to relate with, as the feeling that they gave me, especially the two present day character, was too stereotypical.

The story of Father Time was also not properly elaborated too, the reason why Dor was kept alive for so many years just to help two people, only to have the story end in such convenient manner in the end. The story was too predictable and almost fairy tale like, that there wasn't any real twist or climax in the end.

I think the part that I enjoyed in the book was the initial buildup in the story, of the story behind Father Time, Victor and Sarah, but after a while, after their character and motives were established, it kinda gets dull from there as there was not much development in the characters involved. Another part of the story that I liked was how Dor showed the future to the characters, and how Mitch Albom imagined the future to be like (which I think is very likely), but then again the method of the storytelling borrows heavily from Ghosts of Christmas, for example.

While bits and parts of the story were touching and inspiring, asking us to look at the bigger picture and treasure what we have now, I feel that the book was too short to be able to convey the message it want to send succinctly. The entire story feels a bit disjointed, like you don't know how everything fits into the larger picture, or rather a larger picture does exist. Which is a huge difference as compared to the Five People You Meet In Heaven.

In essence, I think that the book is trying to make a deep argument by using the story of three people, but I felt that some of the parts were highly unnecessary and were included for the sake of keeping the argument going. The notion that we should treasure the time we have, and how the act of measuring time affects our life is a good one, but I felt that the execution could have been much much better.

I'll give it a 5/10.


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