Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin – Audio
Young Jane Young‘s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss‑‑who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married‑‑and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late‑night talk show punchline; she is slut‑shamed, labeled as fat and ugly, and considered a blight on politics in general. How does one go on after this? In Aviva’s case, she sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. She tries to start over as a wedding planner, to be smarter about her life, and to raise her daughter to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, she decides to run for public office herself, that long‑ago mistake trails her via the Internet like a scarlet A. For in our age, Google guarantees that the past is never, ever, truly past, that everything you’ve done will live on for everyone to know about for all eternity. And it’s only a matter of time until Aviva/Jane’s daughter, Ruby, finds out who her mother was, and is, and must decide whether she can still respect her.
My Review: 4 stars
Young Jane Young made me laugh, cry and ask questions of myself as a mother and as a once upon a time girl in her twenties. This book is very thought provoking as you ask yourself how you would handle the varied and uncomfortable situations that arise throughout the novel. The narrator of this audio book preformed brilliantly. She captured the mother’s emotions as well as the daughter’s pain and confusion.
After reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and adoring it, I was nervous that I’d be disappointed by her latest endeavor. The topic didn’t thrill me. Luckily, I was anything but disappointed. I cared for these characters and was reminded how simple mistakes can change so many lives. There are a lot of themes running through the novel about mother/daughter relationships, marriage, child rearing, secrets, religion and doing the right thing. I highly enjoyed the many moments when the language and storyline became satirical.
It seems to be a literary trend right now to write novels that take place in very specific cities, for example Little Fires Everywhere takes place in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Natives from these real cities seem to either jump on board or find faults in how these towns are portrayed. This book takes place in Boca Raton, Florida and the town locals will decide if it’s a hit or miss in how their hometown is portrayed.
This is a great read for vacation or just a fun diversion into someone else’s problems.
Quotes I liked:
An “online presence” is “all the true things and all the lies about a person on the Internet.”
-“Because the things we don’t have are sadder than the things we have. Because the things we don’t have exist in our imaginations, where they are perfect.”
-“My grandmother was married for fifty-two years, until my grandfather died. She used to say that a bad marriage was one that hadn’t had enough time to get good again.”
-“Embeth looked at the return address. It was from her most faithful friend, Shipment Fulfillment Center.”
-“They didn’t put a scarlet letter on her chest, but they didn’t need to. That’s what the Internet is for.”