Title: How to Stop Time
Author: Matt Haig
Year of Publication: 2018
Number of Pages: 325
Summary: From the Book: “Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary forty-one-year-old, but because of a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From performing with Shakespeare, to exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, to sharing cocktails with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom has seen a lot. But now, after over four hundred years of reinventing himself to escape detection, he just wants an ordinary life. The only rule he has to follow is Don’t Fall in Love.
When Tom catches the eye of a captivating woman named Camille at the dog park, everything begins to unravel. Caught between the danger of discovery and the desire to build a real life, Tom learns that the thing he can’t have might just be the thing that saves him.”
Review: How to Stop Time was a total cover buy for me. I was walking through Chapters, and there was something about the bright blue over and the yellow letters that caught my eye. Since I also found the description intriguing, I decided to bring the book home with me and add it to my never-ending TBR. Fortunately, I saw some people raving about it on Bookstagram, and I decided to read it around the end of May, which was a great decision because I ended up enjoying this book.
My favourite thing about How to Stop Time is that it was a unique mix of contemporary and historical fiction. I haven’t read any time travel stories before, so I don’t know if this is normal for the genre, but I enjoyed how the story went back and forth between modern day and some of the things that Tom had experienced throughout his four hundred or so years on earth. I thought it was interesting to see Tom interact with well known historical figures like Shakespeare, Capitan Cook, and the Fitzgeralds, as well as, ordinary people who were alive at the time. It was also interesting to see how so many things have changed throughout history while so many things have stayed the same.
Another big reason why I enjoyed this book is that I liked the characters. Throughout the book, Tom is dealing with various struggles, and I felt myself genuinely wanting him to be successful with his quests to live an ordinary life and to find his daughter. I found him to be intriguing, especially with his many life experiences, and someone who I wouldn’t mind knowing in real life. I liked Rose and Camille, the two romantic interests in the story, they were both a little feisty, and I always appreciate that. I also thought that the main villain in the story, Heinrich (the leader of the Albatross Society), was a good villain; he was deceitful, persuasive, and he had a goal and a reason behind his actions.
I also liked how this book contained a lot of different layers, and that the love story was more of a side effect of Tom’s struggle with his Anageria (the aging condition) and not the focus. I prefer books where the romance isn’t front and centre, and I found that this book fits perfectly into that category.
One thing that I didn’t like about this book is how quickly it all ended, it felt like the ending was rushed, almost like a television show that found out at the last minute that it had been cancelled and they’re scrambling to tie up as many loose ends as possible. The other negative thing about this book is that it wasn’t very memorable, while the story and concept were unique, the specific details of the plot are all kind of a blur for me. Fortunately, they’re supposed to be turning the book into a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which I think will be enjoyable and I’m looking forward to dragging my boyfriend to see Benedict with me.
Overall, I enjoyed reading How to Stop Time, and I recommend it if you’re looking for a quick read or if you like time travel and historical fiction.
Favourite Quote: “That was the familiar lesson of time. Everything changes and nothing changes.”
Rating: 4/5 Stars