By Leah Ison
“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.”
There have been many stories about the curse of time that have sparked the romantic in me. The Time Traveler’s Wife, Winter’s Tale and Outlander to name a few. When I came across How to Stop Time, I immediately grabbed it, not just for it’s whimsical cover, but for the excitement of possibly finding a book that will pull me away from my own curse of time as a work-at-home-mom. Take me away, I demanded!
Did it pass the test? Yes and no.
The concept behind the story is neat. Tom Hazard is a seemingly normal 41-year-old-man, but because of his rare condition, he has been alive for centuries. Only aging one year in every 15 or so years, Tom has found himself to be over 400-years-old and starting a new career as a (surprise!) History teacher. Some may find that predictable, but to me, it felt charming. He could easily take advantage of his knowledge and condition and be something spectacular, yet he feels too insignificant. He strives to be normal in a world trying too hard to be different.
During his long lifetime, Tom has been in love, even though the first rule is to never take that jump. Who makes up these rules, anyway? A man named Hendrich who started a group called the Albatross Society to control everyone with their condition. Breaking the rules seems to be Tom’s thing. He has too much heart.
As much as I loved the author’s writing and characters, I was left craving more heartbreak. I yearned for a larger focus on Tom’s meaningful relationships, rather than him name dropping people like Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Captain Cook. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool that he met them, but I feel like they made an unbelievable story even more unbelievable. If that makes sense.
Overall, and despite what I felt the story was lacking, I read the book in two nights. It was enjoyable and entertaining. In fact, I suggest you pack it up and let it join you on vacation. It’s the perfect beach read, and we could all use some beach right about now. Let’s close our eyes and dream …