Book thoughts: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

There are not many things I wish to control. I’ve spent the past few years of my life simply winging it, which has worked both ways for me. However, there is one thing I, and I suppose many of us, want more hold on – and that is time.

The Time Keeper features how Dor, also known as Father Time, first discovers how to measure moments. This didn’t sit well with God, who banishes Dor until he learns his lesson by teaching two characters how to value time – a young, intelligent girl with self-esteem issues who is bullied in school and wants her life to end, and a successful business man who wants to live forever, never mind the cost.

The premise of the book is compelling. It made me think hard about time – how uncontrollable it is, how I can only work around it, how I should be using it instead of how I’m actually spending it. When you think about it, we’ve managed to effectively limit ourselves to working within compartmentalized moments when we figured out how measuring time works. Yes, a system is essential, a routine has to be established, rules have to be set in order for civilization to progress but sometimes we forget that life isn’t all about that. Like work hours, for instance. We’ve set it at 8am to 5pm, which is majority of your waking hours. If you like what you’re doing, then well and good, and that is time well-spent. But what if you are one of those who is still searching for what you’re meant to do, but because you’re told you can’t simply do nothing, you have to settle for what’s there – which is a job you don’t really enjoy. So you’re there everyday for 9 hours at least which you’d rather spend doing something else, and before you know it, you’ve spent (wasted) several years on something you don’t love. Something that doesn’t mean that much to you. It’s a troublesome and sad thought, and might be enough to make you want to do something about it before you run out of time.

But how do you learn to understand time? How do you learn to work with it? To accept it? I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone knows the answers.

Mitch Albom’s style is simple, so the book was easy to read. My biggest problem was how rushed it felt. Albom spent quite some time explaining the technical history of time through Dor, and giving us a glimpse of Sarah and Victor’s lives before Dor came into theirs, but the book did not really explore what happened after their realizations (except for Dor). I guess this was meant for the reader to do some introspection and come to their own conclusion, but I thought it was a shame Albom didn’t do it anyway. He didn’t show us Dor’s impact on their lives which would have been a great opportunity for him to showcase more of his simple but hard-hitting prose.

While I really think Mitch Albom could have done more with the story, I think The Time Keeper is still worth checking out because it was incredibly thought-provoking and made me contemplate my views on life and time. I’m sure you, too, will be able to take something away from it.


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