I love it when a book makes me think. GOING VINTAGE by Lindsey Leavitt definitely fits into that category. The premise is that the main character’s boyfriend has a cyber-affair, so she gives up modern technology. Her hypothesis is that life was simpler when her grandma was a teenager, so she will only use technology that was available in 1962. As I’m sure you can imagine, the ultimate lesson is that being a teenager is hard in any decade. I discussed the book with my own grandma, who is 85. She confirmed that, yes, it was hard in the ’40s, too.
What I came away with was that even though technology does make authentic communication harder in some ways, there are also a lot of benefits. As with anything, you just have to weigh the good with the bad.
I could write a review of this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I thought it would be more fun to list the five modern technologies I couldn’t live without. (If you really want to see what I think of Lindsey Leavitt’s writing, check out my review of her middle grade novel, A FAREWELL TO CHARMS.)
1. My smart phone – I haven’t even had my smart phone a year, but I can’t imagine living without it now. It’s my connection to the world, my calendar, information immediately at my fingertips, my camera … the list goes on and on. I didn’t text before this phone because I had a flip phone where I had to press 1 three times to get a C. But I’ve discovered it keeps me in better touch with some friends and family members who just don’t want to talk on the phone anymore. There’s a scene in the book where someone calls Mallory on the house phone and she doesn’t quite know how to talk to them that way. I find that a little sad as I spent hours on the phone with my friends as a teenager, but at the same time, texting keeps me in contact with some people I never would have talked to on the phone.
2. The Internet – I’m old enough I remember a time before the Internet. It really got going while I was in high school and exploded while I was in college. How did we find information back then? How did we stay connected? Heck, I live on Twitter during the day. It’s how I get my news, how I connect with people. And everything I’ve learned about the publishing business I’ve learned online. Yes, it’s easy to misinterpret conversations online, particularly in places like Facebook, but if I weren’t on Facebook, I wouldn’t have any idea what was going on with my high school or college friends or extended family. And my college roommates wouldn’t have scheduled a weekend away last year, so overall it’s a positive thing.
3. My computer/laptop – If I had to write longhand or on a typewriter (which I did use back in grade school), I don’t know if I would be writing novels now. For sure the quality wouldn’t be as high. I spend hours moving things around and playing with word choices. I can’t imagine trying to do that longhand or even with a typewriter. Plus, my laptop is where I store my life–pictures, videos, music, etc. And believe me, I back it all up, too!
4. DVR – Maybe I will be able to do without this eventually thanks to shows being posted online, but the quality is still better through my TV service. I remember when we got a DVR. It was during the summer Olympics in 2004. It revolutionized the way we watched TV. I never watch commercials anymore. If I’m somewhere I have to, I get very impatient. My kids do, too. “Why can’t we fast-forward?” Or, “Can you pause that?” It’s part of their vocabulary to think everything in life can be fast-forwarded or paused. Just the other day my almost 3-year-old asked me to pause a book so she could go get a drink.
5. Kitchen appliances – I know this is really two, but I can’t live without my microwave or my dishwasher. I hate washing dishes by hand and usually get my husband to do it since he doesn’t mind. And as for the microwave, well, how did they heat up food before it existed? In the oven? On the stove? That would take so long! I love my conveniences.
What could you not live without? Have I missed anything?