Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Going Vintage Going Vintage
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: ****
Pages: 310
Mallory was content to be a twenty-first century girl until Jeremy cheated on her with an online girlfriend. Now she yearns for simpler times. A time when boyfriends couldn't hook up with online avatars. A time when families sat down each night for homemade meatloaf dinners. A time like 1962. While cleaning out her grandma's attic, Mallory finds a chic seersucker dress and list of goals Grandma Vivian made back when she was sixteen:
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
With the list as her guide, Mallory swears off technology and begins her quest to go vintage.
Turns out the sixties were more complicated than they seem. Sewing isn't so easy when you can't thread a button. Mallory has to start the pep club before she can proclaim herself secretary. And steadies are  in short supply-until she falls for Jeremy's hipster cousin Oliver.
I was expecting Mallory to whine about not having a phone before a Golly-Gee eye opener where she realized technology is evil and shall corrupt this generation. Actually, she starts out that way. Mallory idolizes the sixties and her grandma calls her on it.

"Looking at your yearbook, it just seemed that was the perfect time to be a teenager, before the sixties got crazy. I wish I could time-travel back to that...You wore gowns to a dance, not skanky dresses. And you went on real dates, not the hang out and hookups that we do. And! You went steady and gave class rings and passed notes, not texts, and-"
"I think I'm going to barf." Grandma crumples the empty beignet bag into a ball. "I wasn't living in Happy Days. We still had issues back then. Communism, Cuban missile crisis, repression, segregation, race riots. But nothing catastrophic like broken cell phones, right?"
-page 111 (paraphrased for clarity)

Going Vintage provides a very realistic take on what would happen if you swore off technology in modern society. It's not just her friends. Her parents and grandma think she's making life more difficult for them. Her history teacher thinks she doesn't appreciate the Industrial Revolution enough because she won't use a computer for a project.
And that brings me to my favorite part. Mallory's friends are so real. They form clubs, worry about college application, and do homework. Homework. Book people don't do that. Oliver's the kind of cute, funny guy you wish you could meet in real life, but at the same time he reminds you of three guys you already know. But he is named Oliver, so thanks to the retro theme, I had the Brady Bunch theme playing in my head every time Jeremy called him Cousin.
My main complaint is Mallory doesn't do everything she could to achieve her goals. Her grandma sews her homecoming dress, her sister Ginnie cooks the soiree food, and Oliver does most of the pep club work. But what she lacks in determination she makes up for in character. Towards the beginning, I felt she was running around with a little sign that said TEEN in sloppy sharpie letters. What do teenagers do? Why, they text. Always. Except when they're making out. Then she ditches the twin evils of teendom and you get to see her personality. Mallory learns that you can't ignore technology in a modern world and the sixties weren't quite so peaceful as she thought.
With an unexpected twist at the end, Going Vintage is a funny, realistic, and surprising read.