It took me a surprising while to finishing reading this one. This isn’t necessarily something unusual, I’m generally a slower reader anyway, but my surprise at taking so long with this one comes because of how much I enjoyed reading it – when I was reading it… So in theory I should have been eager to race through it. But more about that later.
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig is the story of a guy called Tom who is super old. Born in the 1400s super old. We are taken back and forth through time, through his life, to reveal how he became the man he did.
I loved the writing style of this novel, well I guess of Matt Haig, it was accessible, it didn’t stumble, and though I read this on my Kindle, I didn’t have to press on any words for the dictionary action to fire up. Always a bonus in my eyes.
And though the story jumped from time period to time period, I didn’t once feel lost as to where or when it and I were meant to be, it flowed smoothly, the conversations felt (mostly) real, and I did want to keep reading to find out what would happen next. But despite that high praise, I wasn’t all-in hooked.
I could go a few days without reading it, and when I would settle down with it, I would be thoroughly enjoying what I was reading but it would never be for very long and part of me would always be elsewhere, I could easily put it back down again. I tend to read on the train on my commute but this never once almost made me miss my station because of being totally engrossed in the story – like has happened a fair few times before while reading (The Girl on the Train and Prime Suspect but to name a couple).
Is that a bad sign? I wouldn’t necessarily say so. I didn’t feel a slave to it. I could put it down, leave it a couple of days, pick it back up again and the cycle continue all without getting lost with the jumpy time frames or the details I needed to remember to keep in the loop of the story. It’s a bit like EastEnders, you don’t watch it for a while and you lose track, but after a little watching again it doesn’t take long to get back into it and figure out who’s now having an affair with who, who killed who, and all the rest of it.
I will say though, I was quite disappointed with the ending. There were far braver and stronger endings that could have really worked in its favour and that would have made it all the more memorable for me. I wanted more from it, as it is it’s not probably one that will stick in my head; but hey, what do I know?
Would I recommend How to Stop Time by Matt Haig? Sure. As novels go, it’s an easy to read page turner, it may just not be one that stays with you in the long run. It certainly won’t be the last of Matt Haig’s stories I give a go though. I have just spotted online that this story is being made into a film with Benedict Cumberbatch, I do think it could translate to screen well so that will be interesting to see when it comes out.
Up next to read: The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin. I saw this film last year while on holiday in the Lake District and liked it, then I saw the book a few weeks later down cheap in a shop and bought it excitedly. Then, of course, it went on the bookshelf, never to be read. But now it will be!