This story is really three stories woven into one, spanning the entire existence of time itself. That is not to say the story begins with the creation of the universe, but rather the creation of time.
The first character we meet is Dor (which uncoincidentally is the Hebrew word for generation), a young man who lived 5,000 years ago (according to our definition of years) and was the first person to attempt to measure the passage of time. Ripped from his family, Dor is banished to a cave for his efforts to put a numeric value to God’s greatest gift, where he is cursed with hearing all the wishes and hopes of the world regarding the passage of time.
The other two protagonists in the story are a lonely teenaged girl struggling with her emotions towards both a boy and her mother, and a wealthy middle-aged business man who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Both are concerned with the movement of time, but in opposite directions: with one wanting time to pass more quickly, and the other wanting to slow it down.
The three storylines join when Dor—or Father Time as some might refer to him—is given the chance to break the chains of his punishment by teaching these two earth dwellers about the true meaning and value of time. The theme that runs throughout the book is that time, once given power by merely recognizing its existence, cannot—and should not—be attempted to be controlled. By living with time always on one’s mind, it becomes a prison that destroys everything around us.
I found The Time Keeper to be less compelling and uplifting than Albom’s previous novels. To me, the writing seemed more forced—less natural—than his earlier works. I did still enjoy the book though and would recommend it to people who enjoyed Albom’s novels The Five People You Meet In Heaven, For One More Day, and Have a Little Faith. I would also recommend Fannie Flagg’s Can’t wait to Get to Heaven. For non-fiction seekers, Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven and Todd Burpo’s Heaven is for Real might also be appealing.