Book Review: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard is old. Really old. 439 years old in fact. He has a rare condition known as anageria which means he ages really slowly. People like Tom are protected by a society that provides them with the ability and identities to move around frequently enough that they are not found out. Regular humans who have discovered the secret tend to disappear. The one thing Tom must never do is fall in love…

How to Stop Time is a book that questions the limits of what humans are prepared to believe. The slow aging process is explored in detail over Tom’s lifetime as he experiences first hand the witch trials, the plague, Shakespeare at the globe, the jazz age and more. The historical sections of the novel are so descriptive and evoke the senses so much that you feel as though you were there, or at the very least that the author was. Matt brings history alive in a way that I haven’t experienced in a novel before and I really enjoyed this aspect of the story, particularly around the Shakespeare time and the fights breaking out in The Globe, because this is history in a way that you would never expect to see it.

The relationships he forms throughout his life add a really emotional touch to the book, and there were times when I felt my swinging-brick contracting with sadness for Tom and for the life that he is forced to live. Tom’s story shows us the downsides to near eternal life: being unsettled, avoiding relationships and watching nearly everyone he knows die whilst he has barely aged. It is a sad thought. Part of Tom’s development is learning how to find happiness and something to live for.

It seems fitting that in the modern day Tom is a history teacher with a knack for engaging students in what is often considered a dull subject (not by me, I LOVED history). There is a wonderful small plotline where Tom sees the impact that his teachings have one on of his pupils and I thought this was a lovely touch.

When not teaching, he is working for the society, and this adds a dark undertone to the novel. There is always a sense of danger associated with these parts of the book, and I often felt uneasy reading about it.

I got more and more gripped towards the end when Tom meets someone from his past that he has spent his life searching for and things are not quite what he thought. It is tense, and emotional, and Henrich made me FURIOUS. If you want to know why then you need to read the book, because that’s the closest to a plot spoiler you’re getting from me.

Just pick it up and read it. Okay?

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Add yours

  1. Ooh this sounds super intriguing!! Like I don’t read a lot of adult books, but I’m loving the premise of this one?! And I love that the ending was really gripping. Consider me intrigued. 🎉🎉

    Liked by 1 person

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