Mitch Albom’s latest book, Time Keeper, (Hyperion, hardcover, 222 pages, $24.99) is a fantasy that follows three characters as they learn the true meaning of time.
Victor is a successful business man who is dying of an incurable illness and wants more time.
Sarah is a teenage girl with a crush on a boy at her school. She wants time to move faster.
These three storylines are told simultaneously and effortlessly thorough Albom’s tight prose and short chapters, moving along at a healthy clip. The plot is a fable and a far-fetched one at that, pointing out the importance of treasuring time, what really matters in life, and how time-focused we have become to our own detriment.
On occasion, it felt as though the story was superficial and lacking detail, rushing forward. While it was refreshing to not bog down in background matter, it also made it feel trite, like a fairy tale. It is corny and posturing, for all its intent on telling a grand story. None of the characters, particularly Dor, seemed real to me, and this was most noticeable when the stories play out to their fanciful conclusions. I wasn’t moved by the events that would have been impactful if I cared about these people.
Though intended for an adult audience, the theme could be easily grasped by a pre-teen. I was insulted that the author elected to bold entire sentences for emphasis, rather than trust the reader to discern what is important. Rarely a page in the book goes without a line being bolded, sometimes two or three on the same page. Good writing does not need this sort of obvious highlighting.
I liked Time Keeper despite the things mentioned above. It didn’t change my life, but I was entertained. All in all, it’s not bad, nor is the prose bad and I enjoyed how three storylines were expertly weaved together. If you are interested in this one, pick it up and read three pages or so. This will possibly be an entire chapter, as they are very short in this book. If it still appeals to you, Time Keeper may be your kind of thing. I think this would be a good one to read with a fifth or sixth grade child.