Page 45 Review by Dominique
If you or I had a time machine we might go back and, say, kill Hitler. (Or perhaps prevent Diego Maradona from scoring a blatant handball in the 86 World Cup.) However, if you or I were Jess Fink (CHESTER 5000 XYV) we would use said machine to go back, set ourselves up with hotties, engineer sexy situations and make out with our younger selves because Jess Fink is naughty! College, high school, the workplace nowhere is safe from Finks finagling. But what starts as a gentle prod in the right direction soon becomes an exercise in micro-management.
After all, we all know better now than we did 10 years ago, or even five minutes ago right? Seems only sensible, then, that Jess should apply her worldly wisdom to help her former selves make better decisions. Dont date that boy, he turns out to be an arse. Wear something nicer to that party, youre gonna hook up. And no, that is not how you give a good blowjob! *Tut!* For some reason though, Jess former selves arent particularly grateful for her advice. Reactions range from who the hell are you?! Youre scaring me to OMG butt the hell out of our/my/your life! But the more she is rebuffed the more future/now Jess is determined to Make Things Better. And the more she tries, the more she fails. And the more she fails the more she is convinced that she has to go back further to fix the problem at its source. Which is probably birth because, lets face it, thats where all of our problems really began.
But of course there isnt really a problem: there is just a young Jess going about her life, making the decisions and mistakes that will shape her, writing her own history and becoming her own person. Who cares if the fashion choices we made at 14 werent the best; if our hair was wince-worthy and our home-made comicbooks were just blatant rip-offs of our favourite artist of the day? Yes, perhaps that time moping in our room agonising over the fact no-one understood us might have been better spent, but so what? Dating people we shouldnt, quitting jobs we should have stuck with, that ill-advised perm, are all part of what made us Us. And then there are the fun times, so often forgotten when we look back with a critical eye. Laughing until your sides hurt, that first kiss, that first love, even that first pay packet. All the things, good and bad, that brought us to this moment on this day as *exactly* the people we are now. Deep.
I think Fink has pulled off a really difficult thing here, making a book that is very funny and enjoyable but also personal and meaningful. There are chuckles and facepalms on every page but at the same time the observations come thick and fast and are revealing and brave. The story feels honest and self-effacing but never navel-gazey or maudlin. Its a romp, in the best possible sense no-holds-barred, silly, passionate, forgiving and smart. Fantastic!