This is the first time I have read any of Mitch Albom’s books. Yes, I know. Where have I been? I’ll confess that I never look at the best-selling lists so I am occasionally surprised by an author that lots and lots of other people love. I prefer it this way because I enjoy the excitement of the hunt for new authors to go on my approved list.
I read The Time Keeper and have been thinking about it ever since. It was almost a slap in the face for me, a person who is always saying things like “Give me a minute” or “Wait just a sec.” It is an interesting look at the concept of time and how we humans lose a lot of enjoyment by measuring it. I began to ponder all the times I looked at a clock and though “just a few more hours (minutes etc) until….”
Dor is not your ordinary person living in a more primitive world before time was measured. He begins to count, creating numbers in the process. He counts his fingers, stones, twigs, people, the stars, and anything he can. One day he stuck a stick in the sand and noticed a shadow. He discovers that he can mark the shadow with a stick and surmises that the next day the shadow will hit the rock exactly again and that he will be counting the days.
He invents several different methods of measuring time during his life and endures great hardships. When his wife lays dying he tries to get to heaven to get a cure. Instead he gets trapped in a cave for 6000 years listening to all the people born thereafter asking for more time.
Fast forward 6000 years to Sarah Lemon who is about to suffer the ultimate embarrassment anyone can suffer in high school. At the same time rich and powerful Victor Delamonte is facing death from cancer. Both are in a race against time, and Dor is tormented by their voices.
Their three lives become interwoven as the three come to really understand time and what a precious gift it is. I won’t spoil the book by saying how it ends, but it is pretty satisfying.
I really have found myself thinking about the concept of measured time. Is living by the clock really such a great thing? Of course I see the advantage when it comes to starting things like school or work or church… but is there a better way to live? By measuring time with clocks have we robbed ourselves of some of the serenity we could have? Do we really want more time?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and how it has made me think. I also appreciate that it was clean without foul language or explicit scenes. It just goes to show you that great books can be written without relying on cheap tricks. Kudos to Mitch Albom!