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  • Matt Haig

How to stop time review


How to stop time hooked me from the beginning, even from reading the blurb. It had a plot that was completely different from anything I have read before which made it even more intriguing and interesting.

The book was based on a man, by one name he is called 'Tom hazard' who had a 'condition' which means every fifteen years, his body ages one.

Every chapter changes from 'London, now' to a time in his past. You go through meeting Shakespeare to the Atlantic ocean in 1800. Somehow, Haig did not lose any realism in the book and I never lost the feel of it being completely true, and at some points even contemplated if the writer has this condition!!

He is part of an organisation called ‘The Albatross Society' which find people like him to save from civilization realising anything. Joining means being owned by the society, and members do what they are told. One of these things is changing identity and habitat every eight years, to prevent people from recognising that he isn't growing old. This intercepts his lifestyle meaning he never really knows who he is, having to change identity, job, place and life story so often takes him away from feeling normal and disrupts his life and means he cannot get close to anyone.

His current job in London is a history job, thinking that is the most fulfilling thing for him as he can talk about events in history that he lived through.

The times going back and forth meant that the chapters are short, meaning its a great read for those people who find it hard getting through a book because it is extremely hard not to resist another small chapter because they are so short creating the book to always remain gripping and the topic constantly changes when the times do, which creates it to be more exciting and unknowing.

The first chapter in the novel is him portraying that the first thing that he mustn't do with his condition, is fall in love. If he falls in love, he will go mad. However, of course, like any do, he does and he talks about it so deeply and lovingly. You learn he had a child and a lot of the storyline is him wishing to find her alive if she adopted the same condition as he has. This brought in the theme of family into the book, meaning the novel had every aspect of life in which everyone knows and can relate to, which I thought made it so good.

I think the way he lived for so long, remembering his loved ones outlined the importance of love in the human condition and I thought this was incredibly effective, and subtly genius!

The book was incredibly uplifting and gave an incredible moral support edge to it inside this wonderful, addictive fictional story. It answered the question to so many people 'why can't we live forever.' His story and life emphasised the importance of living to your full ability however old you are, and that age is completely just a number, if your living, your living. That's about it.

There were also times when it was incredibly humourous while including a valuable lesson. Something that stood out to me was when he was HAPPY when he saw his first grey hair! I thought this was such an iconic thing to include because it is a sign of ageing, therefore it is often complained about. But, in a way, there can be a positive aspect of it as well. Although the past has gone, it represents change and your years to come are just a new part of your life.

The way the book was written was incredibly wise and storytelling, that it felt I was being told an incredible true story with amazing tales hidden within it, by a very wise man. If I am correct this is the impression Haig wanted to give off due to the many many years the character had been on the earth: the many things he had experienced and many things he had gone through. Haig achieved this beautifully which added to it feeling so realistic and true.

Another topic which I thought Haig represented incredibly well by the including a lot of history in the book and famous people from centuries ago- was that people in history are people. They are not something we just learn about but they lived and breathed and had troubles and were just another person going through life. This was a great message within the book and thought it was such a clever way of writing about it - by his character meeting all these people on the street, or in a bar, which normalized it dramatically.

It is one of those books which I feel proud to have read it, and I feel like in a way it is a life guide that I will have with me forever. It is a very special book which I feel those who are not reading are incredibly missing out. It included every genre: romance, thriller, drama; happy and sad. This was another way of really representing life, by going through his life with all the twists and turns of the book.

Overall, it is now being added to my 'all-time favourite' bookshelf. I absolutely loved reading every page and was gutted to finish it. I recommend it to absolutely everyone, old and young. It is a perfect book for any situation and is a joy to sit down and read. It included every genre and is an uplifting, clever, interesting book.

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