My rating: 5/5 stars
I’ve heard so many good things about Matt Haig but never read anything from him. You know the saying >> so many books, so little time. I know that “Humans” is like his trademark, the book to love and to beat at sales, but I’ve decided to go for “How To Stop Time”, because I consider that the plot suits me most. And beside this, the book will be turned into a movie, having Benedict Cumberbatch as lead. 😀
Tom Hazard is apparently 41, but in reality he is 439. He suffers from a rare disease which doesn’t allows him to age the same way normal people do. This illness changed his life completely and started to manifest by the age of 13, when he felt that something is wrong with him. Born in England, in 1581, in a period full of prejudice and superstitions, Tom is left without his parents, after his mom was murderer by burn to stake. Extremely affected by the happenings, Tom runs away in a small village near London, where he meets 2 orphan sisters, Rose and Grace. Rose becomes the love of Tom’s life, leaving a huge mark upon his existence. They get married and after a while, Marin is born, with the same gift as his father.
When he sees that his family is in grave danger, he takes the awful decision to leave them behind, only to keep his girls sale. Rose dies in the mean time, but Marion is no where to be found, leaving Tom brokenhearted and practically a ghost. During his struggles to find his daughter, he discovers a community with people just like him and he tries to fit in. They live by a strict rule, they are not allowed to stay in one place for more than 8 years. So Tom has to adopt different personalities in order to stay safe and compliant. His last adventures take him to London present year, where he wants to enroll as an history teacher in an university.
“How To Stop Time” by Matt Haig was an amazing book, with a brilliant and complex plot, very well centered and drafted. A book with short chapters, but very complete and well written, with suggestive flashbacks which capture dearly Tom’s past. The most important aspect for me what the emotion transmitted, which overwhelms you, but I took it as a privilege to witness this character and his stories.
Tom is a very atypical hero, with a lot going on and most important, he is someone without an identity. He sees his disease as a curse, as something that took away his mom and his beloved girls. Even if he is part of this community, he feels that he doesn’t fit, can’t grow roots. Not having this possibility makes him bitter, wanting to isolate himself from others, just waiting for this final days, when they will want to arrive. His perspective is extremely sad and makes you want to comfort him, tell him that he deserves a second chance, a better life. Even if he lived for almost 500 years, he would have given everything in a beat, just to have a short, but happy life. He will eventually be given a second chance in love, but it will be very risky for him to try to open up his heart again. It will be more riskier to get involved with somebody else considering his gift, but life will have some plans for him.
I totally recommend this book, you have to read it, because his depth and meaning is extremely powerful, with a reality accent, emotions all over the place, and sad but true message.