THE TIME KEEPER by Mitch Albom, Book Review

The Time Keeper by Mitch AlbomThe Time Keeper Synopsis

From the author who’s inspired millions worldwide with books like Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven comes his most imaginative novel yet, The Time Keeper — a compelling fable about the first man on earth to count the hours.

The man who became Father Time.

In Mitch Albom’s newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world’s first clock is punished for trying to measure God’s greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world — now dominated by the hour – counting he so innocently began — and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi-Fantasy

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This is the first title I have read from the highly acclaimed author Mitch Albom and based on this experience I will not be going back for more.

I am a big believer in less is more, but in this case the spare prose was just plain simple.

The sentiments Mitch Albom seeks to convey in The Time Keeper are appealing and important but the execution is a disappointment.

While I understand the goal was to highlight the naivety of mankind in relation to its obsession with time and control, in my opinion the characters were naive to the point of unrealistic. And because of this I felt little empathy for them and thus the intended transference of their learnings to the reader’s life is lost. It feels to me that Albom has brought together a bunch of topical issues such as the pervasive influence of social media and teenage self-image issues, etc. in the hope of creating something greater than the sum of its parts, just as movie producers often bring together an ensemble cast of famous actors and expect it to be a box-office success in spite of a weak storyline.

The Time Keeper appears to be one of those titles that polarise opinion – in stark contrast to my experience, there are many glowing endorsements of the title to be found. In her review Anne Dunne (a proponent of the novel) seeks to explain this conundrum,

In The Time Keeper, Albom deals with spiritual nourishment, and the more cynical may find his straying into Chicken Soup for the Soul territory a bit saccharine. However, this is quite a compelling and uplifting little moral tale.

Am I cynical? No. Jaded? Sometimes. Reasonably well read, appreciate and find nourishment from works of artistic and literary merit? Yes.

If you’re looking for Chicken Soup for the Soul with a ‘time and control’ bent, I wholeheartedly recommend you read the high quality titles Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto by Gianni Rodari and The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman.

I have not read the previous best-selling titles from Mitch Albom so cannot make an objective comparison but I can only assume that either The Time Keeper may not be his best work, or he is just not the right author for me.

BOOK RATING: The Story 2.5 / 5 ; The Writing 2 / 5  –  Overall 2.25

Have you read The Time Keeper? Do you want to?

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Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper is available from Amazon and The Book Depository.

Author Information: Mitch Albom is an author, playwright, and screenwriter who has written seven books, including the international bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, the bestselling memoir of all time. His first novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, as were For One More Day, his second novel, and Have a Little Faith, his most recent work of non-fiction. All four books were made into acclaimed TV films. Albom also works as a columnist and a broadcaster and has founded seven charities in Detroit and Haiti, where he operates an orphanage/mission. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.

– Check out Mitch Albom’s official website

Other reviews of The Time Keeper: The Washington Post, The Independent, Kirkus Reviews, Popcorn Reads, Publisher’s Weekly

* My receiving this title free via NetGalley did not impact my expression of my honest opinions in this book review.