Father Time, cryogenic freezing, teenage hormones, and the Tower of Babel are all combined in Mitch Albom’s latest book The Time Keeper; a novel richly diverse as the aforementioned themes. Timeless tales of romantic love which stretch from antiquity to modernity carry the bulk of the content, as the interpersonal relationships of three characters are developed.
When Dor creates the first instrument for measuring time, he unknowingly sets the scene for the eventual downfall of mankind. He is punished by God and imprisoned in a cave to listen to the pleas of all the people of the world for thousands of years whose cries of desperation revolve around their having too little or too much time. Soon he will encounter two such people, and will be charged with the task of aiding them in their struggle to manage the hours, minutes, and seconds leading up to the greatest challenge in their lives.
The worst thing I could do in this article is spoil the ending by giving away too many details. The suspense of the story alone is worth the read. So there will be no spoiler alert in the last couple of paragraphs that you read here. Yet I can’t help but congratulate Mitch Albom for the way he highlights how social media continues to play such an integral role in how people communicate with each other every day. Through tweets, Facebook posts and text messages, the meaning of our speech is either lost or found through the few keystrokes we use to speak with. Often times the tone of what we want to say is incommunicable once the characters are visible on the screen of our intended reader. So how do we bridge the gap? I think we are all working on that solution as 21st century inhabitants.
And there is also the ugly side of social media: bullying, iDisorder, identity theft and etcetera. Perhaps that is why I am so fascinated with the blogosphere; a space where no limit is placed on the number of characters I am allowed to type or read in my quest to find understanding from shared experience. Although blogs can be used to hurt, they also can be used to help in fighting against the dark-side of the digital universe.
The Time Keeper will remind you of how precious every second of your life is, how important those people you love are, and how consequential what you say and do will always be. Those ideals we expect from a novel about the ramifications of the invention of time. The surprise in the novel will come in between the pages where what’s expected meets what’s familiar, as you identify with each character in ways that you either did not suspect or refused to acknowledge. And undoubtedly you will walk away from the book asking yourself the question: how am I using my time?