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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Time Keeper: A Novel (audiobook) by Mitch Albom

Published in 2012 by Hyperion Audio
Performed by Dan Stevens
Duration: 4 hours, 42 minutes.

I am torn by this book. I liked the message (just live your life, enjoy the time you have, don't be a clock-watcher) but this short book felt like it was jammed full of padding.

The book is about Dor, a man who lives at the beginning of civilization. He is happily married to his childhood sweetheart, has kids and is also the first man to measure time. He creates sundials, water clocks, measures the cycles of the moon and notices the days get longer and shorter as the year progresses. His childhood friend is the king and the creator of the Tower of Babel. His friend wants to harness this ability to measure time in some way to build his tower but Dor refuses. They are banished and eventually his wife dies from a disease. Dor returns to the tower and storms up the stairs just as God punishes the builders of the tower (sort of like it is described in Genesis). Dor is not killed. Instead he is placed in a cave and is forced to listen to the prayers and laments of everyone who wants more time, less time, to stop time, to reverse time, or whatever. Dor does not age even though time continues to move forward. He becomes the mythical figure  known as Father Time.

Mitch Albom (photo by Vincent Wagner)
Meanwhile, in the modern world, two people have their own issues with time. An elderly businessman who is dying from cancer wants more time. A high school girl is dealing with issues of bullying and divorced parents needs to slow things down so she can process them.

Dor is finally released from his prison and told that he can finally die if he can help these two people from a future world that he can barely comprehend. He gets to use the tools of Father Time (controlling the speed of time) to help him accomplish this goal. Will he do it? Albom telegraphs that early on - of course. How will he do it? That's the question.

Dan Stevens reads this book with a great deal of skill. His multiple female characters are well done. I teach high school and he catches the cadence and rhythm of high school-speak very well. Even better, he catches the pain and frustration of the elderly businessman's voice wonderfully. As he dies from kidney failure his voice gets weaker and more slurred in scene after scene.

I give this book 3 stars. It is very slowly paced and is only saved by the tear-jerker moments at the end that felt intentionally manipulative.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Time Keeper

Reviewed on October 25, 2012.

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