Book reviews are some of my favorite posts to read and write. I love finding new books to add to my reading list based on the suggestions of other people. This is actually my first book review of 2020 even though I have read a few other books. The whole time I was reading How to Stop Time by Matt Haig I was thinking that I would without a doubt give this book 5 stars if I did a review.
Tom Hazard has just moved back to London, his old home, to settle down and become a high school history teacher. And on his first day at school, he meets a captivating French teacher at his school who seems fascinated by him. But Tom has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.
Unfortunately for Tom, the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.
How to Stop Time tells a love story across the ages—and for the ages—about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. It is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.
I originally bought the Kindle version of How to Stop Time in December but didn’t start reading it until March. I bought it during a Kindle sale and then forgot about it and I’m sad it took me this long to read it! Once I started I could not put it down. I needed to figure out how it was going to end.
I loved the different periods of time that were featured in this book. I feel like the author did a lot of research but I’m not an expert so some things may have been historically inaccurate. However, Tom meets so many figures from history that we all know about and it’s really interesting to see how his character develops over the centuries with the different roles he has to play in order to fit in.
One moment in this book really stood out to me though. In Tom’s first life he falls in love with a woman named Rose. I don’t want to spoil it but this is the time of the plague in Europe. This setting feels very similar to what we are currently going through with this pandemic. The thought of these similar situations has weighed heavily on my heart and my mind.
“Whenever I see someone reading a book, especially if it is someone I don’t expect, I feel civilisation has become a little safer.”
“People you love never die. That is what Omai had said, all those years ago. And he was right. They don’t die. Not completely. They live in your mind, the way they always lived inside you. You keep their light alive. If you remember them well enough, they can still guide you, like the shine of long-extinguished stars could guide ships in unfamiliar waters.”
“This is so often the way with life. You spend so much time waiting for something – a person, a feeling, a piece of information – that you can’t quite absorb it when it is in front of you. The hole is so used to being a hole it doesn’t know how to close itself.”
“And yet we had done what so often happened in the proud history of geographic discovery. We had found paradise. And then we had set it on fire.”
“Everything in life is uncertain. That is how you know you are existing in the world, the uncertainty. Of course, this is why we sometimes want to return to the past, because we know it, or think we do. It’s a song we’ve heard.”
My Rating: 5 Stars
I loved this book! Every page, every life, every story had so much meaning. I feel like I learned a lot about life and how to make the most out of bad situations which is incredibly important right now. How to Stop Time has been added to my top 10 books of all time that I’ve read. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to re-reading it again this week.
Have you read any good books lately? I think I’ll be reading a lot more now that I can’t leave my house.