If you read my last review on The Casual Vacancy, you would’ve noticed that my next read was The Great Gatsby, but with my students gone on a 3-day field trip and my presence still required at the office, I had obscene amounts of downtime. Anyway, I read The Great Gatsby first but decided I’d do a book vs. movie post later.
So that brings me to the next book on my list: The Time Keeper. (Both of these books are super short, hence my ability to read through them so quickly.)
In short, The Time Keeper is a parable about a man, Dor, who was born in the early days of simplicity where technology and time had no place. From a young age, he grew fascinated with time, although in this day, “time” wasn’t a concept, and was only an idea inside of Dor’s head. He started counting everything and invented ways to measure the hours, days and months. Unfortunately, his inventions and discoveries about time didn’t earn him any rewards or recognition, as most people thought that he was just bat-shit-crazy (excuse my French).
[Warning: slight spoilers ahead]
Anyway, God wasn’t so keen on this whole “time ” idea, knowing that it would end with people obsessing over it every minute of the day, so he imprisons Dor -or “Father Time”- in a cave for eternity (well, for a long time anyway) where he is forced to hear the voices of these people who let time control them.
God gives Dor a chance to redeem himself, so he releases him back to earth (in the now, present day age of rushing, watch-checking and time-obsessing) to help two other people – one who greedily seeks more time than God grants, and the other who wishes to cut her time on earth short.
While I really enjoyed the concept and theme of this book, I felt like the characters weren’t nearly as developed as they could be and basically just lacked depth. I mean, come on, the awkward teenage girl who “falls in love” with the popular boy who then rejects her and so she wants to carbon-monoxide herself to death on New Years Eve? And the cold Forbes List billionaire who wants more time on earth to acquire even more wealth and further distance himself from the silly concept of “love”, which he learned so long ago, doesn’t exist. Come on.
Dor was sent back to earth to help these two polar opposites learn that time is a gift from God that isn’t ours to change. Time isn’t ours to take away and it’s not something for us to extend. We get a specific amount of time on earth so we can learn to appreciate how precious it is. Basically, your typical, lesson-learning, epiphany-reaching, happy ending where everyone becomes a better person in the end (quite the opposite of the last couple books I’ve read). I get that it’s a parable but something less predictable would’ve been nice.
Regardless of the stereotypical characters and somewhat mundane plot, Mitch Albom created a novel that every person can relate to. We’ve all wasted time, wished for more time, witnessed “time flying” or ran out of time. We all have this innate obsession with measuring the hours and days because we were born into a society where every single thing revolves around time. We have to arrive at work and school on time, we schedule so many of our days down to the minute, we get paid according to time, we literally wear time on our wrists. Our lives revolve around this abstract concept and we all just accept it.
As cliche as the characters and theme may be (this book is basically Adam Sandler’s “Click” meets “He’s Just Not That Into You”. Except not funny), it sends a message and teaches a lesson that most of us are still yet to learn. A lesson that a busy society like ours always seems to forget and underestimate.
Next Read: The Harry Potter series
& so it begins…