Review: Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Release date: January 27th, 2015
Publisher: Poppy (Little, Brown)
Length: 304 pages
Source: ARC from ALAMW15
Rating: Though not wholly terrible, I, sadly, did not love Lucy
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.
In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.
A Room With a View is one of my favorite books of ALL TIME. I read it when I was fourteen and it's lived very happily in my heart ever since. Not long after, I saw the movie version of A Room With a View and fell in love with that too. So going into Love, Lucy I was half excited, half wary, because a great adaptation of my fave book could be great, but a bad one could make me crankypants.
As an adaptation of one of my favorite books, Love, Lucy mostly fails to capture the true emotional struggles and themes of the original. Taken on its own, ignoring its connection to the classic, Love, Lucy is still pretty bland and highly frustrating. It takes a female-driven novel and makes it less that, and doesn't really manage to update the turn of the century moral and personal dilemmas Original Lucy struggles in a way that plays.
The best part of Love, Lucy is the beginning, in Florence. Lucy and Charlene--who are not close friends-- are backpacking together across Europe, and by the time they reach Florence, their relationship is starting to fray. When Lucy meets the dreeeeeamy Jesse--rather hilariously described as having a "light New Jersey accent"--their relationship basically crumbles as Lucy falls head over heels in vacation love. Or is it real love?
|IS HE A PAOLO OR A GORDO??|
So, yes. The beginning section was kind of fun and escapist (falling in love in Florence! Gelato and sunshine and cathedrals and underground clubs and kissing on scenic hilltops!), though I was hoping for things to be a little more The Lizzie McGuire Movie and less wannabe Just One Day.My main issue was the blandness of the characters, namely Lucy. Lucy kind of sucks? Like, I sympathized with her parental issues, but the narrative paints Charlene as being a bitch for being upset that Lucy has chosen to completely ditch her in Rome to spend time as Jesse, when I was like, "Lucy, if you were on vacation with me and left me ALL ALONE in a foreign city to bang a boy, we would have WORDS."
|Same, Kate, same|
|p sure Lucy forgot how to do that|
Then I REALLY couldn't understand or sympathize with Lucy's poor decisions because they were so obviously, glaringly wrong. The parralels with A Room With a View start to fall apart. Shane didn't need to exist in the plot. As he stands, he doesn't work at ALL as a Cecil character, because he really doesn't represent what Cecil is mean to represent in the original. He's just a nice dude whom Lucy is obviously not in love with. To say Lucy is in denial about her feelings is such a frustrating understatement. Her romantic "issues" were just SO. UTTERLY. FRUSTRATING. Not to mentioned contrived and easily solved and GAH LUCY YOU GOT SOME 'SPLAININ' TO DO
The only compelling issue was Lucy's battle with her father over her desire to do theater (though that was a little bit over the top and my god is he a shit). I did like the friendship feels this book provided, though again, Lucy is mostly a terrible friend.
Just watch or read the original. It will make you want to go to Florence and fall in love, but it won't make you snarl in frustration