If there is one book genre I cannot resist, it's a romance threaded with the sorrow, frustration, and decisions that come with self-discovery. 'Coming of age' novels. Petty love stories don't interest me so much, it's the tales of anguishing commitment that get me. More than a life story; a lives story.
Paint It Black and White Oleander by Janet Fitch are my favorite books, and they both fall under this category. Written as close to poetry as I've ever seen a novel come, they are books that it is impossible to just skip a paragraph because you've become bored. I desperately wanted Janet Fitch to write another book because I thought I'd never find another I enjoyed so much as hers. I was wrong... The Time Traveler's Wife is genius. It parallels the same sort of stream of consciousness-narrative style of writing as Fitch's novels, however, it is dually told by a couple.
Niffenegger has taken the time travel, the subject of sci-fi films, books and articles and made it seem common-place. It is a secondary characteristic of Henry, and at the same time it is the foreground and foundation of Clare and Henry's relationship. Amazing. And a must-read.