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Young Jane Young: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

Young Jane Young: A Novel (2017)

by Gabrielle Zevin

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    Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (kathleen.morrow)
    kathleen.morrow: Similar sharp, witty style of writing

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I really enjoyed this humorous story about Aviva Grossman, who as a college student interns for a FL congressman, and has an affair with him. After being outed publicly, and shamed unmercifully, she moves away and reinvents herself. This is a great story about taking control of your life, and not dwelling on the mistakes of the past. The novel is told from the viewpoints of several of the female characters, and is really enjoyable. ( )
  rmarcin | Jan 22, 2019 |
Continuing on with my audio commutes. If you totally screw up your life, can you really disappear and start over again somewhere new? I enjoyed following “Jane Young” on her journey to start again. But man beware... the internet is forever lol. This was a fun light read. 4🌟 ( )
  karenvg3 | Dec 26, 2018 |
Fun, fast read that addresses some really relevant issues in a light sort of way. Knowing what I did about the plot I expected this book to be a little more "heavy", but it was fairly light from start to finish. I loved that it was told from the perspectives of four different women and I absolutely loved reading from Ruby's perspective. ( )
  EliseLaForge | Nov 20, 2018 |
Three generations of women relate their perspectives on Aviva Grossman's affair with a married congressman while working with him as an intern. The grandmother's narrative is standard, but the granddaughter's is in the form of emails to a pen pal. The best one was the daughter's, which is written in a choose your adventure style and in which you make all the wrong choices. It is fun, but not as charming as her first book and was just ok overall. ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |

There's a lot here to like - Zevin is a master storyteller, in that she can give a pencil sketch of a person the appropriate characterizations in a few strokes of her pen. She also creates suspense without any of the normal mystery writer tropes. It's a superb talent, and it's why I liked The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry so much, and why I will continue to read her stuff.

What fell flat was the final chapter. Up until that point, you understand Aviva from afar - or you understand and empathize and are proud of her for pulling herself up by her bootstraps. But, that final chapter had a decent number of what I will call "character holes", such that by the end of it I was far less enamored with her. Her choices seemed odder than I expected, and her revival in Maine seemed inconceivable in the way that Zevin described it.

However, I did dearly love Ruby. (Who doesn't love a precocious 13-year-old... on paper?) Her pen pal letters were at times even laugh-out-loud funny. And I appreciated the chapter with Embeth because she was such a confusing, yet appealing character - exactly what I would have expected from the jilted party. ( )
  khage | Sep 11, 2018 |
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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 as well preserved, and so I thought I would try it even though I avoid going online too much.
I find the term Jewish-American princess offensive, but if the tiara fits.
"You're so trim," she said.
"I work for it," I said. "Inside me, there is an angry fat woman."
"How do you fit her in there?"
The past is never past. Only idiots think that.
She was meant to have given up coffee, but what was the point of living without coffee? Living, it seemed to her, was the acquiring of bad habits.
The receptionist apologized. The doctor was running behind schedule. Behind schedule is the schedule, Embeth thought.
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"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's daughter, Ruby, finds out who her mother was, and is, and must decide whether she can still respect her. Following three generations of women, plus the wife of the Congressman, YOUNG JANE YOUNG is a sympathetic, smart, funny, and very moving novel about what it means to be a woman of any age. Told in varying voices and emails and even a Choose Your Own Adventure section, it 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"--… (more)

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