The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, 2012, Hyperion, New York.
Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper imaginatively explores the origins of the marking of time and the implications our adoption of clock watching has on the lives of two principal characters, Victor and Sarah. Victor, an elderly business man, is dying but searching for a way in which to outsmart death and be re-born in the future. Sarah, a teenager, has given up on searching for love and thinks she is ready to leave this world. Both are coming to terms with their own mortality.
Albom’s story is very creative. I especially enjoyed the manner in which he describes the father of time and how he came to be. Albom develops this particular character very well.
I could go on – I could tell you more about the specifics of the story – but I would prefer to talk about Albom and his writing in general. I have also read Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People you Meet in Heaven. I did not enjoy Tuesdays with Morrie even though it was a best seller. I respect that visiting and talking with Morrie was a life altering event for Albom, but at the time I was reading it I was also caring for someone who was dying and I felt that Albom was too focused on his own needs rather than the needs of Morrie. The Five People You Meet in Heaven was, by contrast, a classic in my mind. It appeared a re-writing of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, ghosts and all. It was highly imaginative and thoroughly enjoyable. As I read The Time Keeper, however, my mind turned to Jimmy Stewart and the film, It’s a Wonderful Life and I started to see a pattern. Was Albom, I wondered, re-writing all of the stories that I think of as the Christmas classics or is that just the way I’m reading his work? If he is, is it intentional or is it just happening? And, does it matter? I am left wondering. We always re-write the stories that have come before us in one way or another. I know this for a fact. But something isn’t sitting right with me here. I would like to know more about father time, but don’t care to know more about Victor or Sarah. Perhaps I need to read this again at a later date with fresh eyes. What do you think?