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Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Going Vintage

By: Lindsey Leavitt

Release Date: March 26, 2013

Rating: 3 Stars

Summary: When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.



Review:

I think most people will fall into one of two camps with Going Vintage. It’ll either be a fairly enjoyable reading experience, because it’s a cute, fluff read – or, it’ll be an about average reading experience, precisely because it’s a cute, fluff read. I on the other hand fall into a third camp, I actually think Going Vintage is more than a cute, fluff read, and it only seems like one because its message is scattered and ineffective.

First of all, the message is right there, in the summary. Mallory’s cheated on, she eschews technology, it’s a whole expose on the excesses of technology and social media thing. And ends with Mallory learning how to improve as a person and engage in real life, offline, of course. I actually totally digged the beginning – the first few chapters just rolls with the premise and Mallory’s indignant reactions are really good, like:

My boyfriend is cheating on me with a cyberwife.

And then:

I click on a book and chuck it at his head. His icon starts to bleed. I laugh. This game is addictive.

Yeah, nothing beats random acts of petty revenge. Then again, too bad the book opens with a bang with the better quotes before falling off as the story progresses, although the writing’s still good for the type of contemporary.

Really, the problem is that Lindsey Leavitt has the whole cheating scenario down, but then doesn’t really build on the excesses of social media premise for the rest of the book. There’s some stuff, like all the mean things random people say to Mallory online, but besides Mallory just insisting how the sixties were better because the internet didn’t exist to strip away a vital layer of social interaction between everyone, I just didn’t see a coherent message, so a lot of what ends up happening just seems totally random. Like it’s not clear exactly what Mallory ‘going vintage’ actually entails – she starts off with no phone, no computer, nothing that’s not available in the sixties, but then there’s one scene of her sister Ginnie going through her room and removing all her stuff, leaving only hilarious Post It notes to the effect of how so and so item wasn’t available in the sixties and had to be removed – huh? I mean, sure what Ginnie does is funny, but what is Leavitt saying with that scene? I’m not sure, so Mallory ends up feeling wishy washy and insincere, her vintage agenda seems to be riddled with more holes than Swiss cheese, and I just kept asking myself, what is Leavitt trying to do?

If you haven’t figured out by now, the rest of this review is one big I didn’t get it. I didn’t get the subplot with Mallory’s mom and her blog (which is mentioned out loud by Mom at one point when it was still supposed to be a big secret hidden from the family – huh?) and what it says about Mallory’s anti-social media slash pro-vintage campaign. I didn’t get her attitude towards Mallory and Oliver, especially the Jeremy’s cousin thing – is she the one character actually living in the sixties? I didn’t get most of the scenes with Grandma, because it seemed to me like she was supposed to represent how Mallory’s relationship and social problems aren’t just exclusive to modern girls but were around in the sixties too, but that was never made explicit or clear. I didn’t get what the point of the List was except as more filler, because Mallory originally treats it as some sort of empowering thing to do but the idea seemed to be dropped completely by the end with the way Mallory takes shortcuts on some tasks and the book brushing over others. And it goes on, so much so that I felt like Going Vintage is one idea – Mallory discovering the cheating and ending up with Oliver – split between a few chapters at the beginning and a few at the end, with the rest just random, weird filler that somehow was supposed to go with the return to a better time theme but really just jumbled up whatever message Leavitt had in mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wouldn’t call Going Vintage empty fluff because Mallory does learn things and grow as a character by the end. But the middle is so muddled I just can’t say the whole plot was all that effective.


Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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