Review | Young Jane Young | Gabrielle Zevin
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Page Count: 294
Why I read it: Saw it on MMD's Quick Lit for September
First Sentence: "My dear friend Roz Horowitz met her new husband online dating, and Roz is three years older and fifty pounds heavier than I am, and people have said that she is generally not well preserved, and so i thought i would try it even though I avoid going online too much."
Synopsis: Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her boss--and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the beloved congressman doesn’t take the fall. But Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins: slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics.
She sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. This time, she tries to be smarter about her life and strives to raise her daughter, Ruby, to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, Aviva decides to run for public office herself, that long-ago mistake trails her via the Internet and catches up--an inescapable scarlet A. In the digital age, the past is never, ever, truly past. And it’s only a matter of time until Ruby finds out who her mother was and is forced to reconcile that person with the one she knows.
Young Jane Young is a smart, funny, and moving novel about what it means to be a woman of any age, and captures not just the mood of our recent highly charged political season, but also the double standards alive and well in every aspect of life for women.
My Thoughts: Wow, has it been awhile since I read a book in a day! I think the last book that I took down in one day was After You, the (undeserving) sequel to Me Before You, and I had food poisoning that day. Young Jane Young was a very compelling book. Our girl Jane was a young 20 something intern who ends up having an affair with a congressman. It's the same story- he's in a marriage of convenience, he's going to leave her soon, she must keep this secret- only this time, they get caught because of a car accident, and evidence has been left behind in the form of a not-so-secret blog. My favorite part of this book was the way in which the story was told. We get to hear from several narrators, including the protagonist's mother, her daughter, the cheating congressman's wife, and the protagonist herself. The author had an unconventional way of storytelling- much of the story is told via emails, blog posts, and "Choose Your Own Adventure" style narration. There were a few things that I didn't understand and I totally disagreed with some of the actions of the protagonist, but I will say it makes very good points about slut shaming. What happens to the women who've been publicly shamed after a sex scandal? Why does the man get to walk away with his dignity and career in tact, while the woman has to endure a veritable public stoning? There were some cliché's (the men were SO swine-y) and I hated some of the character's actions, but the woman were so endearing that I still enjoyed myself. Ruby (and El Mete) were my favorites. It's a story about scandal, the choices that we make when we're young, resilience, and feminism. It could almost be YA... except for the blog part. I don't know that we needed THAT detail.
Favorite Quote: "Just because I am sixty-four and a woman, people think I should be happy to be with anyone. But I would rather be alone than be with a bastard like the glass guy, may he rest in peace, or a blowhard who insulted my daughter."
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