X VS. Y: A Culture War, A Love Story By Eve And Leonora Epstein (Review)

Image courtesy of Abrams Books.
Image courtesy of Abrams Books.

The generation gauntlet has been thrown down and thanks to our friends at Abrams Books I was able to review the upcoming book “X vs. Y” by Eve and Leonora Epstein. Written by the Epstein sisters, who are fourteen years apart in age, this book is a humorous look at the generational differences between the two through the lens of pop culture. The book is due to hit store and digital shelves everywhere on March 18, 2014 but you can pre-order your copy today by following the link provided.

Eve and Leonora have crafted a book that takes on the topics of TV, Music, Movies, Technology, and Fashion to name a few and then presents each of their unique viewpoints on the subject matter as well as some of the pop culture that bridges the two generations. In particular I have to point out how Eve (Team X) and Leonora (Team Y) view the magic of movies, Eve points out the importance of 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to those of the X generation, finding our hopes and worries of our youth in the character of Elliot, those of us that were the products of a single parent household as Eve points out in the book knew all too well what Elliot’s life was like. Leonora on the other hand while understanding the power of of the movie going experience counters that for the Y generation it made more sense to stay at home and watch a film or TV series on VHS, not only due to the rising prices of tickets but she admits she doesn’t feel the need to sit with strangers in a theater when she can easily see everything in the comfort of her own home (which if you pop over to the Retroist forums you’ll see a lot of people agree with that statement), she also offers a very amusing anecdote about getting hooked to Sex and the City that I don’t want to spoil.

Eve in the chapter focusing on technology points out something that hits very close to home for myself, she mentions that generation X seem to have an obsession with quality, that no matter what the object might be or when it was originally released we have a tendency to seek out the best, it’s almost a mandate. I’ll admit that I have never really thought about that before but as soon as I read that chapter…it was like a light bulb went on over my head. Leonora’s early brushes with technology are from the early days of AOL and points out how e-mail and IM seemed like a continuing phone call conversation. She also writes on how generation Y is sometimes described as being oversharers thanks to the ease of today’s social media and the continuous updates on our personal lives but she rightfully points out the power that such media supplies, good and bad.

The book never really gets into a true X vs. Y and I’m thankful for that as the message I took away from reading it is that the X and Y generations are not really that much different from each other, a certain icon might be considered to represent generation Y is readily taken to heart by generation X (I’m looking at you Titanic), etc.

Leonora and Eve have done a wonderful job of presenting an anthology book with honest and personal commentary from both generations and have wrapped it in a humorous look at things past. While I may not have had an opinion on Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers or Bubble Gum Kissing Potions back in my youth, I am grateful that Leonora and Eve have opened my eyes with their new book. So if you are looking for an entertaining read on supposed culture war I heartily recommend “X vs. Y: A Culture War, A Love Story”!


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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