Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Young Jane Young

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin.  320 pages.

This book follows the lives of three women in one family, but focusing on one of them and how her choices affect the lives of the other two.  Our main character is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious young intern who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss, a congressman.  Of course, he's married, but it's all made worse by the fact that Aviva has been blogging about the whole affair. He comes out of the whole thing unscathed, but Aviva has to start over, changing her name and moving to a remote town in Maine. We get the perspective of Aviva's mother, Aviva, herself, who is now working as a wedding planner, and Aviva's daughter, who never thinks about her mother too much . . . until Aviva runs for mayor of their small town.

I enjoyed this book and found all three of the characters (and also the supporting character of the congressman's wife) to be clearly articulated and easy to imagine.  It's interesting to have their perspectives on Aviva, as well as Aviva's own perspective because it allows the story to go beyond just a story about a woman who has an affair, and actually explore how women are defined and the unspoken rules about what they can or cannot do, and the double standards that exist in society.  I especially liked Aviva's daughter, who is mature for her age and precocious without being annoying (or annoyingly precious).

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