The only book of Mitch Albom that I’ve read is The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I didn’t like it, as you may have read from this post. It was a bad decision to give any credit to the glowing recommendations of a Filipino personality known mostly for her attention-seeking antics. So when I was confronted with The Time Keeper at the Changi International Airport (Singapore) when I was already holding a book by Haruki Murakami, I wasn’t too keen to buy it, although it has the word “time” in the title.
Still, I thought that it was too early to veer away from a decision I made just hours ago at the Perth airport, so I left Murakami on the rack and parted with SG$17.71 for something I had very little interest on, except for the fact that it has the word “time” in the title.
Bad decision. I knew after reading the Prologue that this is another Five People read. No wait, I knew from reading the blurb that it would be a bad decision to buy this book. So, I’m stuck in time, you might say. Good thing it’s a small book.
Notes after reading (15 Jan):
I still think I should have bought Murakami.
Having said that, I’ve gone through some crises since I wrote the notes above, thoughts which I had before starting reading the book. I still do not think so highly of Albom’s writing style or the way he presents his story, but the last part of the book read more easily than the first 3 quarters of it. One reason is probably that something was finally happening; Father Time was doing what he was meant to do. The first 3 quarters of the book feel like a vague introduction to everything. I felt like I was being forced to get into the characters’ minds instead of going there voluntarily. It was a lengthy introduction and for such a small book, the moments dragged on. Kind of ironic considering that it’s a book about time.
I found myself, however, receptive to the lessons Albom wants to impart. Is it religious? Is it preachy? Does it teach a lesson? Yes, yes and it depends. There is a mention of a character that may be God; there are endless commentaries on not wasting time. And if you’re going through a crisis, like I was, everything that seeks to teach a lesson may have something that strikes your heart. It’s like listening to songs when you’re feeling a deep emotion — you usually find something that speaks to you where there wasn’t when you weren’t feeling that emotion.
The first 3 quarters dragged on and the last part read like a story finally, which is a good thing, because I closed the book feeling much better about my purchase than I did after I read that Prologue. Mitch Albom has got the feel-good ending down pat.