Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Time Keeper - Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks - Week 39

This week for the 39th week of the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I chose to read The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. I've read many of his books and each one is equally as thought-provoking as the others.

This one focuses on a man named Dor (also known as Father Time) who invented the first clock as a way to measure time. Since then, people have measured time in increasingly smaller amounts. As the book said:

Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can't. 

You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. 

Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. 

Man alone measures time. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creates endures. A fear of time running out.

So, because Dor impacted humans with the burden of timekeeping, he is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of people who come after him who are begging for more days, weeks, or years...essentially asking for more time.

After listening to the voices for hundreds of years, his spirit is nearly broken. At this point, he is given conditional freedom: with a magical hourglass he is to go into the present world and teach two people the true meaning of time.

One person he chooses is a teenage girl named Sarah who is about to commit suicide after being rejected by a boy whom she thought liked her. In reality, he posted on Facebook that he was simply being nice to her. After reading all the mean-spirited comments from his friends, Sarah's self-esteem (which was already low) seemed to plummet to deeper levels. She could only envision one way to end the miserable and humiliating situation she was in. Sarah felt "worthless and hollow."

The other person he picked was a wealthy, old businessman named Victor who is facing multiple health issues and a prognosis of two months of life. His goal is to live forever by exploring cryogenics (freezing a dead body and waiting for science to advance so the body could be unfrozen and brought back to life to cure it).

In order for Dor to save himself, he must save Sarah and Victor. In that process, he affords them each a look at the impact of their decisions if they would happen the way each anticipated. For both Sarah and Victor, the outcome is vastly different than how they envisioned their choices.

Sarah and Victor have the opportunity to go back to the moment in with Dor met them and choose what they wanted to do. The remainder of The Time Keeper looks at how their decisions affected not only themselves but others.

Ultimately, Dor and Victor learn a valuable lesson:

"With endless time, nothing is special. 
With no loss or sacrifice, we can't appreciate what we have."

The Time Keeper is an excellent book that I would highly recommend. It is one to reflect upon and consider the choices one makes in life - especially as they relate to time - and the impact they have on others.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Sounds interesting, too. :)