How to Stop Time Book Review

No Spoiler Alerts!

All of my book and film reviews are free of spoiler alerts, but you might not know that if this is your first time checking one of them out. So, sit back and relax while you learn a little bit about:

Title: How To Stop Time

Author: Matt Haig

Genre: Fantasy | Historical | Romance

Publisher: Penguin

Trigger Warnings: None

Spoilers?: None

Publishing Date: June 11, 2019

Do you often land on a book because you’ve read one of the author’s other books, and you just want more? That was me after I read the much anticipated The Midnight Library. That book did not disappoint, even though I was afraid it would because of all the hype. So, I looked up Matt Haig to see what else he’d written. That, of course, led me to How to Stop Time. I’ll tell you what I think, but first let’s do a quick summary of the story.

The story takes place (mostly) in and around London and spans from the late 16th century to the current 21st century. It’s about a man who has a rare condition that dramatically slows down the aging process. What’s that mean? Well, he looks like an ordinary 41-year-old history teacher, but is actually centuries old. Instead of aging like everyone else, he ages one year every 15 years or so.

Although he does his best to fly under the radar, moving frequently, sticking to himself, he can’t help but fall in love with a fellow teacher at the school where he’s taken a job at the beginning of the story.

The book is a love story, something of a mystery (why does he have this condition, and does anyone else have it too?), and fascinating to boot! Tom, in almost a Forrest Gump fashion (minus the learning disability) floats through history stumbling into enchanting situations with Shakespeare, Captain Cook, and F. Scott Fitzgerald! It’s almost like historical fiction in places, but not at all dry or technical, but just pure entertainment!

Can Tom have an ordinary life with the woman he loves, or will the Albatross Society (a mysterious group that protects Tom from being found out) stop him. After all, he’s breaking their only rule: Never fall in love.

Read what the author himself says about what inspired him to write the book:

“How To Stop Time” tells the story of Tom Hazard’s experience of, and through, time – the loneliness, good times, bad times, memories, etc.  Haig said that he wanted to write a book about time because, “I wanted to convey something I felt when I was younger.  I had a breakdown at the age of 24.  I had a difficult 3 years with panic disorder, anxiety, and depression.  Since then, I have often reflected on the paradox of time.  Time can be perceived as being both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a cliché that time heals, but it’s true.  Not a lot of things feel bigger than depression, but the knowledge of time, and knowing that it won’t last, that’s what gets you through – the awareness of yourself in time. When I was ill in my twenties, I definitely thought that was it forever.  So, one thing time has done is to make me reflect on it’s {time’s} nature.  Writing the book was like taking a magnifying glass and looking at the problems we all have.  Tom experiences all of these things, but stretched out, because he lives such a long time.  I thought I’d put this person {Tom Hazard} into this sad and difficult place, but then show how he finds hope.”

*Above excerpt taken from a post on The Nerdy Book Fairy.

So, what’s my take on How to Stop Time?

It’s one of the most poignant, wildly original stories I’ve ever read. I nearly cried to see it come to an end. I immediately got on Google to see if there’s a movie in the works, which there is, but where is it already??

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Tom in the How to Stop Time film adaptation but so far there haven’t been any recent updates. I simply cannot wait!