By Jess Fink
Published by Top Shelf
‘Time Travel Memoir’ is an odd category for any book to lay claim to, but that’s as apt a description of ‘We Can Fix It’ as is possible. It’s not quite a time travel story, and it’s almost a memoir. The book sees author Jess Fink travel back to her past, a trip that at first, is undertaken in the name of ‘sexy adventures’. With unabashed glee and a devious glint in her eye, Jess travels back in her own timeline to spy on her formative self and relive her remembered ‘sexy times’.
What she finds is not quite as she remembers it, her teenage years punctuated with encounters more often awkward than erotic. What begins then, as a fun adventure, becomes a crusade for the temporally-traversing Jess to help her younger self. To this end, she ignores the advice science fiction has worked so hard to teach us, and shows no hesitance in interfering with herself. She issues advice, guidance and tips, at first on sex, but seeing how unhappy her youth often was, she soon broadens her remit from sex therapy to life-coaching.
It’s here that We Can Fix It changes gear from a fun adventure through time to a deeper journey through memory, regret, mistakes, growing up, and how time changes our perception of all these things. At times, this book feels like it is Jess Fink reaching a comforting hand to her younger self, an offering from a future that knows life is not always as hard as our school and college years would have us belief. And from that past, Jess too gets a lesson; that memory is not always quite what it seems. Though it has weighty lessons for its protagonist, who must travel difficult ground to learn them, We Can Fix It never stops being fun, and the warm glow emanating from its mix of nostalgia, adventure, and uniquely fluffy science fiction doesn’t ever fade.
We Can Fix It is a fun and funny romp through what is often the most difficult time in anyone’s life. Although ostensibly autobiographical, there will be few readers who won’t identify with it, and who won’t appreciate the confusion of emotions that growing up can stir, even to those like myself, who have long since passed that stage in our lives. But as Jess learns in her time machine, even if we might be finished growing up, we are never finished growing.