Time travelling isn’t as easy as it sounds.

I’m not a fan of science fiction. I don’t really get it. Sure, I like Batman, X-Men, Spiderman and Harry Potter movies – but I’m not about to argue about how accurately the movie represented the comic/book with you. I’d lose. And I’m still doing my best to give Battlestar Gallactica a chance to appease my boyfriend but I find it really challenging. (luckily we both hated Benjamin Button!)

Sometimes I can suspend disbelief when the story is less about the magic/space-y-ness/goblins, and more about life and relationships in a unique context. Two of examples of this are the new CBC show Being Erica and the “so 5 years ago” book The Time Traveler’s Wife (which is about to become a “major motion picture” so all of a sudden I am relevant).

I generally have little faith in shows produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Maybe I haven’t given them enough of a chance, or maybe I was just in the wrong generation to witness CBC brilliance, but I am a skeptic. Luckily for the CBC, their inundation of TTC/subway advertising encouraged me to give them a try on a Monday night. (also, luckily for them, I quit Heroes and had room in my Monday night schedule). The premise of the show is that Erica (who has the emotional capacity of… well.. me) meets a magical psychiatrist in a magically appearing office, writes down a list of regrets, and gets to time travel to make up for mistakes. Most of the time she can’t make any significant changes in the past, and even if she does it ruins everything anyway, but she is supposed to learn about herself and make changes in the present to help her future rather than dwelling on the past.Some of the “lessons” are dully obvious, and most of the supporting characters are punch-worthy, but I like watching a show that isn’t full of violence, and the character’s lives actually improve. Also, I have a total girly-crush on Erin Karpluk and decided she will play me in the movie of my life so I am biased. What I like most though is that I feel like the show is about me. Sure, I didn’t have a dirty-dancing bat mitzvah (I’m pretty sure Anglicans don’t get to do that), and I didn’t try to ruin my sister’s wedding 10 minutes before it happened (I wasn’t invited to begin with), but I can certainly relate to her feelings of being lost. She doesn’t know how to move forward because she can’t let go of the baggage from the past.

I’m not sure that they can really go beyond one season, but “A” for Effort, CBC, and thanks for making a female character that doesn’t have to be a bitch to be smart, reflective, and real.

Next on the agenda:

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a 518 page book (that I read cover to cover!) that I got for Valentine’s this year. I’m not much of a reader (which is why I only blog about books once a year) but I was completely drawn into this one immediately. I had to let go my insane need to find holes in the time travelling, relax, and appreciate that the book is about about a relationship that is completely perfect and completely wrong at the same time.

Henry is a time traveler that can’t control when or where he travels, but is destined to be with Clare. Henry from the future visits Clare as a child which in turn affects the way that Clare visits Henry in the future because he has changed her past. Don’t try to decipher that sentence.

**Spoiler alert. I am going to spoil this book for you. You were warned.

Because Henry alters Clare’s past, she is in love with him from the time she is a little girl (it is hard to set aside creepy feelings about the old man visiting the little girl even though it is entirely innocent) and spends her entire life waiting for Henry while he is gone. So much of this book is focused on Clare’s pain and loss. The two appear to be made for each other, but Clare has to live her life trying to keep Henry safe, worrying when he is gone, making back up plans when he disappears at important times, and dealing with the loss when he eventually leaves her for good.

Henry has a hard life and really doesn’t enjoy time travelling because it means he has to re-experience terrible situations some of the time, and show up naked in awkward times/places the rest of the time. He clearly loves Clare and wants to protect her, but his pain is short lived. Henry meets Clare when he is 28 and dies when he is 46 (ish. I forget). Clare starts pining for Henry when she is 6, and continues until she dies in her 80’s.

It is really rather heartbreaking. I found myself wishing that the book had ended when Clare finds a letter from Henry after his death that promises he will visit once more when she is old. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there and we find out that Clare actually spends the rest of her life waiting for Henry, resenting Henry, resenting her daughter, and never again truly happy until he returns. I suppose the message was supposed to be that it was true love/fate/whatever, but the only way I could understand it is that Henry’s presence in her life actually made her a prisoner. Was that the point? Was I to understand the clich e “it’s better to have loved and lost” blah blah blah?

It seems to me that a more useful message would have come a la Erica and been about letting go of the past and moving on. If Clare’s life could have been about spending the first half of her life with her “perfect man” and the second half about loving something else (someone new, her daughter, her art, herself) then I would have shelved this book at the end feeling truly satisfied not empty.

Oh well. At least I read a book.

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2 thoughts on “Time travelling isn’t as easy as it sounds.

  1. You were too invited! You just didn’t show up (or showed up too early, perhaps…before I knew I was going to get married!)

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