Side note: blind reading is a lot like blind dating. Essentially it's grabbing a book without having any idea what it is about. I usually enjoy a good blind read (except for that one time, see my review for The Female Persuasion here). How To Stop Time did not disappoint. Going in with no expectations I was pleasantly surprised to discover Tom Hazard and his rare set of issues.
Tom Hazard has a rare condition that prevents him from aging at a normal rate. Tom looks 41ish but he is actually several centuries old at the book's open.
In an age when people are trying with all their might to appear youthful and fresh Matt Haig did an amazing job of making agelessness a nightmare. Tom struggles with his 'condition' and the constant danger it puts him and his loved ones in. In an age of witch trials and superstitions Hazard is constantly moving and changing his name to avoid the curious, the concerned, and the dangerous.
Heartbroken, lonely, depressed, and tired of time Tom meets, Hendrich, the leader of the Albatross Society. His induction into the Albatrosses (a group of people with Tom's same condition) comes with some major pros and cons.
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"The first rule is that you don't fall in love,' he said… 'There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'"
The society and its dangerously paranoid leader have rules that must be followed. Matt Haig presents the world and the Albatross Society in such a way that you're almost unsure about which is more dangerous for Tom.
The Fun Part
How To Stop Time is a history and literary buffs dream. Under a series of pseudonyms, Tom travels the world and shares his encounters with some of history's big names. Performing with Shakespeare. Exploring with Captain Cook. Drinking with Fitzgerald. His many lives and many professions put Hazard in place to witness the beginning and end of many epochs and ages.
The one thing I will add here is that I would have loved just a tad bit more detail in terms of his historical encounters. But then again maybe I'm just greedy.
I enjoyed the book for the most part. It was kind of a slow walk to the end, but the end itself seemed rushed. I will admit to being disappointed with the way a particular issue was handled (or introduced) at the book's end. It felt, for lack of a better word, lazy.
The rest of the story was likable enough to warrant a little forgiveness for the unlikable parts of the ending though.
Coming To A Theater Near You
Read How To Stop Time for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments!