Time travel autobiography

We Can Fix It by Jess Fink

The classic time travel question is, of course, if you had a time machine, what would you want to change? One plot would have the time traveler going for the big ticket changes, like killing Hitler. There are some that the time traveler goes to correct a mistake they once made. But what if the time travel is a neurotic control freak so bent on micro-managing their own past that they set out to change even the most minute indiscretions for fear they taint an entire life?

That’s the premise of Jess Fink’s clever autobiography “We Can Fix It,” which follows a character also named Jess as she travels around to some of her worst moments in life trying to lead her into making the right decision, rather than the one she originally made. When those don’t quite work out like she’d hoped, Jess continues on, nitpicking the moments of her life and hoping to make it a smoother ride all around.

It’s interesting, because it seems like it would take a certain level of narcissism for a person to devote such energy, technology, and concern to that level of intrusion on their own past, and Fink seems to look at it the same way. Taking a page from David Gerrold’s “The Man Who Folded Himself” — no idea if this is accidental or on-purpose — Jess proves that the best possible lover for her might possibly be … her.

In the end, lessons are learned — I don’t think I even have to tell you which ones, you can figure that out — and life is looked it with rosy glasses. But that’s not a bad thing — Fink knows that, and you do, too. It’s about what ghosts you want to spend the rest of your life with, the good ones or the bad ones. The bad ones are often more persuasive and muscle into your present more dangerously, so it’s no surprise that Fink advocates focusing on the good ones. As do I. Fink, however, drives the point home by making her own autobiography as a mix of earnest teen sex comedy, coming of age drama, and time travel in order to do the same thing, which makes her advocacy of the idea much better than mine.

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