Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Me on Love, Lucy

Title: Love, Lucy
Author: April Lindner
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Poppy (Hachette Book Group imprint)

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.

Love, Lucy is the story of a young woman discovering what she wants out of life, if she's willing to take risks and follow her dreams or stay grounded.

Lucy is a young woman not sure of what or where she wants to be, shaped by a priviledged background and a controlling father. Europe is a break from the pressures of home, an escape to be who she wants to before returning to become someone else. She's caught between living her own life and fulfilling her side of a promise made. It's a sticky situation. Then she meets Jesse, a young man who's living as he wants to without a lot tying him down. He makes her feel happy, he reminds her what it's like to be on stage. But summers never last.

Lucy's relationship with father isn't the worst, he's not overbearing and abusive, but it's not the best. He's essentially buying her off with the trip to Europe in exchange for her studying what he wants her to. He doesn't care about her own passions, her dreams of being a singer and an actress. Because of his callous attitude, his tossed-aside comments of how the odds are good that she'll fail miserably, Lucy becomes a shell of herself. Instead of battling him, she runs, hides, and capitulates. None of this is healthy. Yes, not everyone who wants to be an actress makes it, but part of being a parent is supporting your children emotionally and not just financially. And Lucy also shoulders some of the blame by agreeing, but not arguing her case stronger. Of course, if she had refused outright, he wouldn't have paid for the trip or her college tuition and this would've been a different book altogether.

This is a coming of age story, and it's a rather common one. Lucy suffers from the same problem a lot of young people have, that no everyone goes off to college right after high school knowing what they want to do in the future. Those eight to ten years are when you really figure yourself out. What kind of person you are, what kind of person you want to be in a relationship with, what you're passionate about and whether you want to make a career out of it. I'm not sure that this is Lucy's full coming of age, the book only covers a few months. She's still young, but this seems to be the most significant part in her life. This will shape her. It's up to her to decide if she'll be broken or whole.

I do wonder if I should've read Forster's A Room with a View before reading this. From what I've seen, Forster's Lucy is trying to find her place in the world, caught between polite society's conventions and true love. But that's what this Lucy is trying to do as well. The time period and circumstances are different but their struggles are the same. Should they follow the path laid out before them, the path they've been made to walk all their lives, or do their follow their hearts and race off in a different direction? I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Gayle Forman's Just One Day and Just One Year.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

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