Gabrielle Zevin is the author of “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikrey. What a wild ride that great book had three years ago. I loved it. What’s not to love? Story about a bookstore on an island filled with great characters! Well, Zevin has done it again, this time with “Young Jane Young.” Honestly, I didn’t know what to think when I heard the title. But, believe me, you’re going to love it.
Zevin has a unique voice that shines whether she’s writing as a man or woman. Not easy to accomplish. Beautiful job here. She’s also writing the story in several points of view. Another not so easy task.
“Following three generations of women, “Young Jane Young” is a smart, funny, and prescient novel, capturing not just the mood of our recent highly charged political season but also the double standards alive and well in every aspect of a woman’s life, at any age.”
Aviva Grossman is a young Jewish congressional intern in South Florida. Boy does she make a mistake. One others before her have already made. She has an affair with a married congressman but, she goes live with it on her blog. She’s an instant celebrity; not in a good way. Slut-shaming is a new tagline for me. But this is appropriately said. Now that her good name is not good anymore, Aviva aka Jane Young now that she’s changed her name, moves lock, stock, and barrel to Maine to begin her life anew. Oh, by the way, she’s pregnant and has not named the father. Ugh. She manages to raise her daughter Ruby without anyone knowing the true nature of their background. And Ruby believes her father died before she was born. Of course this is nonsense. And, yes, Ruby gets wind of the truth. Shit hits the fan.
Yes, this novel brings to mind the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But it’s really nothing like it. This story resonates with the voices of the women. Viva’s mom is hilarious. Her grandmother is witty. And even the congressman’s wife is outrageously funny. Zevin has a message here. A message about the double standards put on women versus men when scandal abounds. The woman is always shamed. The guy not so much. What happened to Aviva? She could not get a job in Florida. It was impossible. Too much exposure. And women were the worst of the shamers. Shame on them. But, did the congressman suffer? Nope. His life continued on. He stayed in politics. And won and won and won. Double standard.
I found this book a joy to read. A quick read, too. But really meaningful. I like Zevin’s writing and look forward to her next novel!
My review copy arrived compliments of Algonquin publishers in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, it’s a great read. Put it on your to-read list for fall! Pub date August 22.