I don't agree at all. When Henry visits Clare he is waiting and watching, not controlling. He goes there because he has already met, and fallen in love with the older woman Clare. I often see glimpses of the child in my partner and would love to know more. He gets to act on that impulse.
I agree, it isn't actually paedophilia but I think the fact that the girl had no choice but to fall in love with him because sheer force of will on his part, and the fact that he travelled in time, made it so she had no real choice but to do so. In effect he sentenced her to. being the wife of a man who skips through time and at no point did the book explore any of the moral implications of this, which I think was a missed opportunity and actually means that what should have been the most interesting aspects of the book was completely ignored.
Yes but you could say the exact say thing about when Clare approaches Henry in the library...it being the 'first time' for Henry to meet her at the age of 28. And she says that she has known him for a long time and develops the relationship from there, so you could in effect say that this incident affected Henry's free will also. All of the stories are like a massive loop/circle, that is the beauty of this book.
The moral implications of the lack of Clare's choice but to marry Henrey are talked through fairly extensively in one chapter although nothing is spelled out explicitly. Its left open but to me the book is in part a treatise on determinism.
I recently read this book (my son's copy) & loved it. I certainly disagree about the grooming accusation as the author made it clear that Henry was already married to Clare. I agree with Imogen that Henry was merely watching the woman he would later marry. I certainly did not feel uncomfortable reading this imaginative & excellent work.
I think this original comment comes from a review in the Daily Mail recently whereby the writer said the film could be interpretted as a form a grooming due to large chunks of the book having to be taken out to make it 'more watchable'. If you read the book, which I don't think the original poster of this thread has, you would understand the complexities of the relationship between Claire and Henry.
I read the book years ago and enjoyed wrapping my head round it, it's a book for goodness sake. This is the reason we have books, we can write about anything, anyway we want, and, importantly, read what we read into the words.
It is a ridiculous accusation to make - the book is about determinism - nothing Henry or Clare does can change what is - when he first met her as a child he was already her husband. They tried to see if anything could be changed with a date on a drawing that was not there in Henry's memory and the world or fate would not let it happen. They were married when they met chronologically and were always going to be - and Henry's older self knocks back Clare's teenage advances, something no paedophile would ever do because he already knows that they don't have a romance and a sex life until she is much older.
I find it bizarre that reviewers take a difference of opinion so personally. I would never have thought that these were accusations, merely opinions - however ridiculous some people might find them. As it happens I enjoyed the book but the grooming element occurred to me quite early on. Strangely, perhaps, that it was nothing to do with the fact that Henry appeared to Clare naked, more to do with the fact that she never had a chance - to meet or even consider meeting anyone else. Call me cynical, but Henry was keeping all his bases covered. As S Morris suggests, if the implications had been acknowledged/explored then it might not have made some readers 'uneasy'.
They have the link of her childhood and his ability. Something they share, tolorate, love & hate throughout their lives. He always struggled with it and Clare was supportive & unjudgemental about this. This is not about grooming but two people whos lives are interwined. For her its first love and for him its the fact he can be fully himself. Not about grooming but growing together.
At no point, even when an adult, did Clare feel as if she was under Henry's control. This was a love story of equals. Your comment is just a reflection of the paranoia suspicion and fear that has been allowed to grow up about peoples motives - the overwhelming majority of men are NOT paedophiles.
I totally disagree with the "grooming" idea ... if Henry was indeed interested in Claire in that way at the tender age of 6 years old, why would he refrain from intimate physical contact with her until she reached adulthood. Instead he helped her with her homework and drawing etc. On more than one occasion Henry repositions himself and/or tells Claire off for being too close. In fact, he left her abruptly when he felt that things might be going too far. This shows he respected Claire all through her childhood and refused to take advantage of her (even though he is married to her in the present and loved her deeply). I love this book so much! And Henry is one of the most "upright" characters I've ever read in a book.
what a strange comment to make. also i dont think the original comment was posted by someone who read the book, as for me i think, in particular Henry's morals, feelings and emotions were dealt with very thoroughly with outstanding creative flair, as was the moral implications of his 'time-travelling' e.g how he was a wanted man for most of his time in Chicago due to his actions obviously drawing a lot of attention from the police force. But i think we shoudl remember that ultimately this is a love story, and for me an extremely interesting insight into a complex but perfectly matched relationship. Furthermore, the comments that Clare was 'forced' into a relationship with Henry....? again if they had read the book they would remember that Henry was a friend to clare until much later and other men were mentioned, e.g Gomez and the boy she dated in high school.
I'm really pleased that someone else picked up on this, as it does seem a little dodgy in principle and I teased my girlfriend about it when she first described the story to me. It's not so much that they would later have a relationship that makes it excusable so much as the fact that Henry has no choice but to appear before Clare as a child and without any clothes on, in the context of the story.
This said, it's isn't true to say that Clare didn't have the choice of refusing to marry Henry. Henry makes it very clear to her and Gomez that actually he is the one who is a victim of events, as he cannot alter the past. He envies people who perceive time in a linear way as they have more control over their destiny. This said, from Clare's perspective Henry is travelling from her relative future and she is not obliged to agree to marry him.
The moral implications of their marriage are little different to someone marrying a childhood friend, perhaps having lived a sheltered existence beforehand. It is true that had we not met our current partners we would now either be with someone else or be alone, however this would also be a result of our choices and theirs.
I don't think it has anything to do with peadophilia. It has more to do with fate getting two people to marry each other. Because they are both horrible and it would be wrong to inflict Henry on a nice girl or Clare on a nice man. They deserve each other.
I have seen a few comments now saying Henry and Clare 'deserve each other' because they aren't very nice people. I don't get it, I mean they have their flaws, but ultimately love each other and do some nice thoughtful things are various points during the book. Grooming - not at all - in fact Henry worries constantly about giving away too much info to Clare and demonstrates restraint continually even when he is pushed. The book should be enjoyed for what it is - an inevitable love story.
I too felt totally uncomfortable about this book. It is argued by Henry that he can't really change the past, but then why go and help Clare with homework? What would be the point? Why teach his younger self how to pickpocket?
Then he demonstrates that what he does in the past does affect the future with the drawing incident: a drawing he remembered as always on the wall was in fact not there when he finished his travels, because he had changed it and the change had rippled through to his present.
So, let us investigate the possibility that he can change his past by travelling backwards in time and you reach the conclusion that Clare only marries him because she has been convinced that is immutably in her future.
I haven't read everybody's comments here but I get the general idea. I think it's one of the reasons I didn't like the book- i felt... uneasy sometimes when I was reading it. It just didn't FEEL right. I'm fascinated by the concept of time travel and how it works and I get that it's the woman he is already married to and all but parts of the book just creeped me out a bit.
To the person who says why teach yourself how to pick-pocket, it's down to that whole time-travelling loop- he did it because he did it... As he grows up he remembers the man who taught him how to pick-pocket then looks in the mirror one day and thinks "Woah- that is/was me- I better go teach myself because if I don't I won't have those skills in the past/present/future" If that makes any sense what-so-ever. At the risk of spoiling a completely different story, anyone seen 12 Monkeys...?