Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How To Stop Time Book Review

 How To Stop Time by Matt Haig, review by Tomes and Tequila

Recently I was asked by a friend for a few book recommendations for her husband. I equal parts love and stress over blatantly recommending things, which is ironic and odd given that I write and review things all the time. It is all about that gnawing feeling in my gut that screams...what if they don't like it?!? Which I really have no control over, as everyone has different tastes, and I don't think you all expect to love the same things that I do ALL the time...but it's still something I stress over. ANYWAY, so when looking for a book for her husband, who enjoys historical fiction and things like 11.22.63, I stumbled upon How To Stop Time by Matt Haig*, and it intrigued me. So I recommended it to her, and then bought it for I could see if I was failing as a bibliophile by doing so.

And then, because I'm a fickle pickle and horrible book blogger, I promptly picked it up the day after it arrived, and read it post-haste instead of reading any of the 100 or so OTHER books sitting in my office waiting for me to give them a shot. For some reason I've found that if I tell myself I HAVE to read my books in a certain order, or try in any major way to prioritize by how things come into my possession, I will rebel and drag my feet to the point that it no longer becomes fun. I have to shop my shelves, and grab what looks good in the moment, or it feels like work to me. That's why I rarely do blog tours. 😏

But back to the book How to Stop Time!

Tom Hazard has a condition that causes him to age incredibly slowly. He was born in the 1500's, and after facing incredible hardship and the loss of loved ones, is scooped up by the Albatross Society and taught to live by certain rules in order to not be detected by normal humans aka "mayflies". He's depressed and lonely, and uncomfortable with the behavior of the Society Head...who reluctantly allows him to return to London and live as a history teacher. With the past bleeding into his present, will Tom figure out how to live again? And will the French teacher at his new school test the number one rule he lives not fall in love??

This was another fairly easy read for me, that I absolutely devoured in a day...just like She Regrets Nothing. And it's kind-of funny, I told my son while I was reading it that I saw this in my head as a movie. Rarely do I picture things being acted out when I'm reading them. I don't normally see characters or places as I'm going along. But with this book, I could SEE everything so clearly. I could perfectly visualize Tom walking down a street in London, and seeing the present day chip shops etc but also seeing what it was like in the past bleeding through and causing him to lose his breath. Being taken aback by realizing he's standing in front of the spot that was once his home, and is now a pet shop.

 How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, review by Tomes and Tequila

In the beginning of the book, Tom talks about how he's not like a vampire stuck perpetually in his youth. He is aging. He will die. He CAN die. He's not immortal. But the story is reminiscent, at least to me, of some of the better vampire fiction I've read in the past. Even more so, it reminded me of the television show New Amsterdam starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (of Game of Thrones fame), which only aired for 8 episodes but I LOVED. The whole idea of living for an extremely long amount of time, watching people come and go, places evolve, loves lost and the whole gamut of issues that would arise if you had lived for over 400 years...and knew you were going to live for about 900...are fascinating and this book merely touches on them, and with a flourish that is at times almost poetic.

I think my favorite sections of the book involved the people in the past that Tom interacted with, and then how he tried to weave some of his knowledge into the school lessons he was teaching. I'm a giant Shakespeare nerd, which you probably know if you've been reading the blog for a while, so the section in which he works for Shakespeare was wonderful. Was it historically accurate? I haven't the foggiest, and don't even care a whole was just entertaining to me! And having drinks with Fitzgerald?!? So lovely, and in my head Fitz was totally Hiddles. (If you haven't watched Midnight in Paris, you need to!!)

Yes, there is a bit of a love story...but it wasn't sappy or overwhelmingly emotional. I feel like the real love story here involved Tom and Life in general. The book really was all about Tom figuring out how he wanted to live all of these years that he's been given. Did he want to just go through the paces and saunter along in a fog? Or did he want to open himself up to new and exciting possibilities, and put himself out there again?

Like I said, a quick and enjoyable book. Science-Fiction with some historical aspects. I enjoyed the author's writing style, which has an almost poetic flourish. I am going to have to see what else he's written, so I can add them to my ever growing and willy-nilly stack of To-Reads!

Sorry I didn't get anything up on Friday or Monday. With it being a holiday weekend, I had my hands full with a husband off work and a daughter in town. Eventually I will get enough posts written in advance where that doesn't happen anymore! I'm thinking I'll be doing my review for Stories I'd Tell In Bars on YouTube, as it lends itself to pajamas and alcohol. And I also should have a February Favorites video up the first week of March. Please let me know if there's anything you'd like to see either on here or on my YouTube channel! I'm open to suggestions.

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