I was winging it when I picked Lindsey Leavitt’s Going Vintage from the library a few weeks ago. I was browsing around, looking for a few things to pick up, and the bright colors of the cover caught my eye. The summary on the dust jacket sounded pretty cutesy, but whatever–it caught my attention, so I went with it. It was a free read.
As it turned out, it was also an unbelievably easy read; I finished it in less than two days (thank you, bubble bath time). The book is about tech-obsessed Mallory who swears off just about everything post-1962 after finding a to-do list her grandmother made her junior year of high school. Hijinks ensue, of course, after she ropes her sister into helping her, and Mallory learns that technology is a lot more prevalent nowadays, making it a true challenge to stick to her plan.
When I read the summary, I was excited about the idea of a modern approach to vintage details and habits, especially from the perspective of a teenage girl. I was a little more wary about how her attitude might turn out after her no-tech challenge: Was the message going to be dripping in some kind of anti-technology sentiment?
No it was not, and thankfully so. In fact, the book did an impressive job of balancing both sides of the tech coin, pointing out its usefulness and its setbacks, though I’d expect most of us are aware of those by now anyway. Mallory goes through a notable change in mentality, even going so far as to surprise me with her attitude towards boys in the end. One “challenge” she faced throughout the novel was this idea that she needed a date to homecoming, and I was expecting a pretty predictable romantic path to be taken, but instead Leavitt didn’t fall strictly into cliched territory, providing Mallory with a little self-love before she got the guy. (Is that even a spoiler? I don’t know. Sorry if it is!)
A literary masterpiece this is not. It’s fluffy and twee, but it’s fun, and there’s no shame in that. It’s also pretty girlie, a bit romantic, and, when you get right down to it, quite simplistic. While there are a few interesting topics that crop up, they aren’t touched on very deeply, and they don’t create much controversy among the characters. They’re minor plot points, backdrops to the larger story of Mallory, her quest to understand herself, and her realization that some things are not as big and bad as they seem.
I’d recommend this book as a good break between other serious reading endeavors. If your brain is feeling fried, give this one a shot. But don’t go into it expecting anything too deep or heartfelt. It’s sweet. It’s simple. It’s exactly what you would expect from the synopsis.