Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

In my Honors English class my freshman year in college, we had to read books relating to time. I wish Mitch Albom's novel The Time Keeper had been around then. Although the story seems almost too simple, it's an interesting fable with a poignant lesson. It's often too late when we learn the value of time.

Who was the first man to measure time? In Albom's story, it was a boy named Dor, a boy fascinated by counting. As he grew, he learned to measure time by the sun and moon, by water and devices he made. But, he never called it time, and he didn't realize he was changing the world. He was a simple man who only loved the woman he married, Alli, and his children, but he was obsessed with counting and measuring time. He's eventually punished for trying to measure God's gift. He's imprisoned in a cave where he becomes Father Time, listening to the cries of the universe, as people beg for more time. The imprisonment lasts centuries, but Father Time will be allowed his freedom when he can teach two people the lesson he learned, the value of time.

Albom entwines the lives of three primary people in The Time Keeper. How can three people be so different? There's Dor, who becomes Father Time, a seventeen-year-old girl, Sarah Lemon, and Victor Delamonte, who, at eighty-seven, is the fourteenth richest man in the world. And, as in all good fables, there are lessons to be learned from mistakes and the past. Each of these characters made a tragic mistake when it came to valuing time.

It sounds simplistic, doesn't it?  But, once again, Albom has managed to tell a story everyone can relate to, telling it simply while confiding one of life's important lessons. Dor, from Mitch Albom's The Time Keeper, has a message for all of us. Do we appreciate what we have when we count every minute? It's a lesson every reader will take to heart in a different way.

Note: I have one quibble with Albom's book. At one time, he says man alone has a paralyzing fear of time running out. He's obviously never lived with domesticated cats. Mine walk all over me in bed in the morning, if I'm late giving them breakfast. They obviously can tell time, and think they're going to die of starvation.

Mitch Albom's website is

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. Hyperion. 2012. ISBN 978140132786 (hardcover), 224p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publicist sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct about cats telling time! Mine get me up about 5 to 6 AM. I will not get up for the day until 6 AM (and yes I regularly break my own rule) while my husband slumbers through it all. Oh, I will get up later if per chance they have have been unable to wake me, but then Bill's alarm at 7:15 every morning breaks the spell every time.

Karen C said...

My daughter's cats will pat her on the face to let her know it's time to get up and feed them!

Lesa said...

Interesting out of that whole blog, all of us focused on the fact that cats do know what time it is to eat! My first cat used to fling items off the dresser so they'd hit the bed when he was hungry. Now, they walk on me to get my attention.

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