Book Review: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard looks 41-years-old but he has a rare condition. He ages at a slower rate and is actually four-hundred-and-thirty-nine-years old. Tom is protected by a secret society for people like him and with their help, he must move around every 8 years to not create suspension. The number one rule to this secret club, don’t fall in love which hasn’t been a problem for Tom. This time around he decides he will move back to his old stomping grounds, London, to become a high school history teacher but when he meets a woman at work he starts to remember the fulfillment and hurt that comes with any life. Now, Tom’s current life is haunted by his past experiences and he must decide if he will stay stuck in his former memories or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time alternates between present-day London and Tom’s many past memories but I was never confused. Haig does a good job of keeping the story moving but not disorganized. The synopsis of the book will have you think this is a love story between two people but I think it is about following Tom during a time when he feels his life is spent and is questioning his place not only in the world but in the secret society. There is a love story but it’s not the novel’s main focus like the movie, “The Age of Adeline” or the book, The Time Traveler’s Wife. The romance is slow burning and a reader may be confused when they start reading and find nothing happens with this present day romance until the last half of the book. It takes Tom a long time to accept his feelings. I think the main theme of the book was more about the heaviness of being alive. How a group of people you thought was protecting and helping you may have been hurting you? Also, seeing the good, “to love food and music and champagne and rare sunny afternoons in October. You can love the sight of waterfalls and the smell of old books.”

I really enjoyed this book. I found myself marking many passages that stuck with me. The read can be a little slow at times (what life is always exciting?) but it was quite thrilling by the end.

Some favorite quotes:

“That’s the thing with time, isn’t it? It’s not all the same. Some days – some years – some decades – are empty. There is nothing to them. It’s just flat water. And then you come across a year, or even a day, or an afternoon. And it is everything. It is the whole thing.”

“And, just as it only takes a moment to die, it only takes a moment to live. You just close your eyes and let every futile fear slip away. And then, in this new state, free from fear, you ask yourself: who am I? If I could live without doubt what would I do? If I could be kind without the fear of being fucked over? If I could love without fear of being hurt? If I could taste the sweetness of today without thinking of how I will miss that taste tomorrow? If I could not fear the passing of time and the people it will steal? Yes. What would I do? Who would I care for? What battle would I fight? Which paths would I step down? What joys would I allow myself? What internal mysteries would I solve? How, in short, would I live?”

Purchase this title through Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, or Ebooks.com.

Quote # 1 – Sylvia Plath

Being born a woman is an awful tragedy. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars—to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording—all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to talk to everybody I can as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night.
– Sylvia Plath

At the End of Ocean Lane

I just finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. It was a story that built up slowly then all of a sudden I was submerged. When it ended I couldn’t remember how to breathe. Then I sighed. The story really was like stepping into an ocean. With each step you get deeper and deeper and then there’s that sharp drop. But you’re not startled or afraid. It feels weird. I liked the strangeness.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“That’s the trouble with living things. Don’t last very long.”

“Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.”

“Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not. You stand two of you lot next to each other, and you could be continents away for all it means anything.”

“You don’t pass or fail and being a person, dear.”

“Books were safer than other people anyway.”

“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside, either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

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My Copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Labyrinth Speech

January 19, 2012
I love this movie and I love this scene even more as years go on. So, here is the final scene between The Goblin King and Sarah in Labyrinth.

Jareth
: Sarah, beware. I have been generous up ‘til now. I can be cruel.
Sarah
: Generous? What have you done that’s generous?
Jareth
: Everything! Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that the child be taken. I took him. You cowered before me, I was frightening. I have reordered time. I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn’t that generous?
Sarah: 
Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City. For my will is as strong as yours, and my king…
Jareth: 
Stop! Wait. Look, Sarah. Look what I’m offering you. Your dreams.
Sarah
: And my kingdom as great.
Jareth: 
I ask for so little. Just let me rule you and you can have everything that you want.
Sarah: Kingdom as great. Damn! I can never remember that line.
Jareth: Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.
Sarah: You have no power over me.

 

Writing Challenge

November 19, 2011
Challenging myself to write.

I need a better schedule. Closer to writing everyday. Can’t wait for inspiration. This quotation is what I want to do right now, “What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?” — Anthony Trollope, The Warden, or maybe a cup of tea. First I am going to write something then I am going to reward myself with my book and some sort of treat (coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate or tea). I feel writing is like that Dorothy Parker quote, “I hate writing, I love having written.” I don’t hate writing. I think I hate the struggle of trying to write something other than nothing. I’m not taking about work writing. That is different. I guess at least I’m writing.