My thoughts on The Time Traveler’s Wife: What if I had was Clare?

As I read The Time Traveler’s Wife, I couldn’t help but imagine myself in Clare’s shoes and wondered if I could make the same choices that she made with Henry.  The first time that she met him, she was only six years old.  As the mother of a six year-old at the moment, it’s easy for me to see how Clare would have seen the world at that time – innocent, but wary of strangers and in awe of so many things.  Although Henry was really just a few years older than Clare, the concept of a six year-old meeting her future husband when he is thirty-six is still creepy.

As time passed, Clare grew to trust her friend from the future and began to realize that there was more to their relationship in the future.  Because of her knowledge of the future, she held back from dating anyone – to the point that her schoolmates thought that she was a lesbian.  When she finally went out with a boy to dispel the rumors, she was assaulted in the process.  I can’t help but wonder if I were in her shoes, would I do the same?  Would I have been immune to the crushes of my teen years, having no interest in any boys in my school because I knew that “the one” was already out there and that I’d already met him?   I would like to think that I wouldn’t have deprived myself of those experiences of youth, but I keep thinking that I probably would have ended up doing the same.  I’m pretty pragmatic – why go through the motions when you already know that “the guy” is waiting for you?

I’ve also wondered about Clare’s acceptance of Henry’s disappearances, naked appearances, stealing, acts of violence, and the other things that accompanied his time travels.  Granted, she had from the time that she was six to get used to the idea of all of these things.  It takes someone with a strong personality to be able to handle the stress that goes along with all of that.  I like to think of myself as being emotionally strong, but I honestly do not know if I could handle the uncertainty of it all.  I like having a routine and that’s certainly outside the bounds of any semblance of a routine in my book.  I’m not sure what I would have done if I were Clare when faced with these circumstances – wondering when and where he was and who he was with in that time.  Love makes you do crazy things when everything that is rational tells you to do something else.

I also asked myself if I could ever bring a child into a chaotic life such as theirs, especially if there was a risk that my child could suffer from the same problem as their father.  I’m pretty confident that I would not be able to do that.  As the mother of two, I know the joy of creating a life with my husband.  But I also realize that when known genetic anomalies are involved, that I would be more comfortable with going the adoption route – there’s more to making a family than DNA.  I have certainly seen overwhelming evidence of that through my friends who have adopted and my family members who have taken in step-children and step-grandchildren as their own.  While this is certainly a controversial topic, I just know that I would have chosen differently if I had been in Clare’s shoes.

Upon Henry’s death, Clare knew that she would see him again before she died.  She waited nearly fifty years for their reunion.  While I would forego the indiscretion with my friend’s husband, I imagine that I would be an old widow like Clare if I were in her shoes.  I’m not saying that I wouldn’t go on dates nor have relationships, but I really don’t know if I could move on and marry someone else.

This story was certainly very complex and gave me so much more to think about on a personal level.  All-in-all, I think that I would have probably done what Clare did – fall in love with Henry, save myself for him, marry him, and wait for him when he was gone.  I would have done some things differently, but I seriously doubt that I would have forsaken love.

What about you?  Would you have handled things like Clare or would you have followed a different path?  In what ways would you do things differently? Share your thoughts here by leaving a comment or in our forum.