Book Review: The Big Rewind
ashley | The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore has a very Nick Hornby feel to it, if Nick Hornby were to thrust you in the midst of a hipster New York Veronica Mars murder mystery. This was definitely a quirky, adorkable read, picking up a lot of modern clichés and sardonically tossing them back in your face. Naturally, I was charmed.
As always, the music elements really spoke to me. This all started with a mixtape, mistakenly delivered to Jett’s mailbox instead of her downstairs neighbour KitKat’s. I’m of an age where I still remember the beauty of a homemade mix tape and what an art it was to make one for someone else, let alone receive one. The fact that all of this was a huge foundation to this story really drew me in. Imagine your life documented in mixed tapes. This was the coolest thing ever! These are my kind of people!
But then somewhere along the line, this started to flip flop back and forth between this murder mystery and a borderline desperate quest for love. You could argue that a quest for love goes hand in hand with music, but actually this made it a lot less about music and just about hunting down ex-boyfriends trying to rekindle the flame or right the wrongs. This whole thing seemed kind of out of the blue for me, I didn’t really get this impression of Jett at first and then all of a sudden she was incredibly lonely and nostalgic and drudging up her past boyfriends. I didn’t really want to follow Jett through her diary of broken hearts to see where they were now. This wasn’t as interesting to me, there were so many interesting and quirky parts of Jett’s present life and I didn’t need to take a trip down memory lane. But it seemed like I had no choice because she had a whole box of leftover boyfriend crap to go through and I really wanted to find out who murdered her neighbour.
All this nostalgic pining was the result of Jett’s affection for her best friend Sid, who at the beginning of the book she seemed to treat like an older brother until she started to become vulnerable and lonely and then her progression from sibling feelings to resentful and jealousy driven sex with ex-boyfriends seemed super quick and I hated that she pined for Sid every time she was with these other guys. And then as soon as she and Sid start to sort things out, she found out one of her exes was getting married and she took off to try and woo him so he didn’t marry the girl he left her for? Jett — get yourself together! I was really starting to dislike her, she was making my head spin with all this craziness, jumping from one guy to another and what could have been.
As far as the murder goes, I wasn’t all that happy with this, either. It isn’t a complicated twist and you can probably put it together early on, but I actually thought that the vital information that confirmed everything likely would have been brought to light in earlier discussions in real life, not as an afterthought. There was reason for that person to come into light previously, but what seems like a natural progression was held back by one of the characters for no real reason but for what can only seem like a way to draw out the murder storyline.
I really loved the writing, though, even the sickening sentimental parts. Cudmore writes like a dream; everything is floaty and fits almost too perfectly together. You can tell that she has a background in music journalism; the descriptions of how music and true love makes people feel were so perfect, so accurate it hurt. I fell in love with these parts of the book, it was hard not to, and all of this made up for the other things that didn’t sit well with me. This book was pretty much a hypnotic love spell.
february 2, 2016