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Young Jane Young: A Novel Hardcover – August 22, 2017
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Praise for Young Jane Young:
"This book will not only thoroughly entertain everyone who reads it; it is the most immaculate takedown of slut-shaming in literature or anywhere else. Cheers, and gratitude to the author."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
—People(Book of the Week)
“Maybe with enough determination and love and support, women can choose their own adventures. They can start, like Aviva, by choosing not to be ashamed. In this life-affirming novel, Zevin doesn’t make that look easy, but she makes it look possible.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“It’s brilliant and hilarious, and it makes you wince in recognition — for the double-standard that relegates scandalized women to a life of shame even as their married lovers continue with their careers (and often their marriages), for the insatiable appetite we have for every last detail, for the ease and speed with which we stop seeing people as multilayered humans. It’s the sort of book that invites us to examine our long-held beliefs and perceptions . . . It has a heart. And a spine. It’s exactly, I would argue, what we need more of right now.”
"A smart, intersectional feminist tour de force."
“Another charming and funny winner by the author of the 2014 best seller The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, about a woman at midlife confronting, along with her mom and daughter, a sex scandal from her youth. The perfect end-of-summer read.”
—AARP, The Magazine
"[A] warm-hearted and witty book about what it means to reinvent yourself because you simply have no choice but to do so.”
“This book will not only thoroughly entertain everyone who reads it; it is the most immaculate takedown of slut-shaming in literature or anywhere else. Cheers, and gratitude to the author.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Splendid . . . A witty, strongly drawn group of female voices tells Aviva’s story . . . [Zevin] has created a fun and frank tale. Her vibrant and playful writing, and the fully realized characters taking turns as narrator, bring the story a zestful energy, even while exploring dark themes of secrecy and betrayal. Zevin perfectly captures the realities of the current political climate and the consequences of youthful indiscretions in an era when the Internet never forgets.”
“Presenting a sharp send-up of our culture’s obsession with scandal and blame, this novel pulls at the seams of misogyny from all angles . . . Likely to be a popular book club pick.”
“Satisfying and entertaining.”
About the Author
Gabrielle Zevin is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than thirty languages. Her eighth novel, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, spent more than four months on the New York Times Bestseller list, reached #1 on the National Indie Bestseller list, and has been a bestseller all around the world. She has also written books for children and young adults, including the award-winning Elsewhere.
Top customer reviews
Do you remember the summer of 2001? That innocent time in American society where CNN and the newspapers were full of "where is Chandra Levy"? Levy was the young Jewish woman from Modesto, California, who had moved to DC after college and became an intern in the office of her congressman, Gary Condit. Levy and Condit began an affair and Levy's disappearance after running in Rock Creek Park became tabloid and CNN fodder til 9/11 knocked it out of the news. Chandra Levy's body was found about a year later and the presumption was that she had not been killed by her creepy married lover. In Ziven's book, the Chandra Levy character is conflated with Monica Lewinsky and the result is Aviva Grossman/Jane Young.
"Young Jane Young" is a wonderful character study of both Aviva/Jane, but also the peripheral people in both parts of her life; before and after. Most of the women, including her mother and grandmother, her young daughter, her mentor in Maine, and the wronged-wife of the congressman are brought alive through Zevin's skillful writing. The men are less vividly drawn and tend to be somewhat caricatures; the cheating father, the lecherous congressman, and Jane's opponent in her mayoral race. The only part I didn't particularly like was the blog, but it seemed to be the best way to advance the plot. Gabrielle Zevin's book is a fun read about interesting people, who I was left wanting to know more about at book's end.
(By the way, my 5 star review can be balanced by some of the 3 star reviews. In particular, the review by "Sarah's Book Shelves", who raises many excellent points about the book's second half.)
After reading the description of this novel, I couldn't help but think of Monica Lewinsky's extraordinarily powerful TED Talk. If you haven't heard it, I HIGHLY encourage giving it a listen. Yes, this is an issues book on feminism, politics and slut-shaming. But, the tone and structure made for a highly entertaining and informative read.
The majority of the book is told from the perspective of the women in Aviva's life, which I found refreshing and compelling. I think my favorite was the first, which is narrated by her mother. Rachel's voice sucked me in straightaway. Maybe it is because I am at an age where I am well past Aviva's point of view, and a mother myself. She also has a wonderfully witty and wry sense of humor that sets the general tone for the whole novel. The congressman's wife Embeth is similarly humorous and clever with a more somber, yet equally absorbing, tone. Ruby's perspective (Avivia's daughter) was tough to read - partly because it was in the form of a melodramatic one sided conversation of a 13 year old (with her school-assigned international pen pal) and partly because Zevin created such a full and clear picture of a heartbreakingly vulnerable girl.
In the end, we finally get some perspective from Avivia herself. I appreciate how Zevin doesn't paint her as a completely innocent martyr to gain our sympathy, and tells her side of the story with all it's complexities.
"The rub of the Choose Your Own Adventure stories is that if you don't make a few bad choices, the story will be terribly boring. If you do everything right and you're always good, the story will be very short."
As a kid who was obsessed with Choose Your Own Adventure books, I thought it was a perfect narrative device to illustrate Aviva's inner dialogue as she faced the moral dilemmas that would profoundly affect her life (and those around her). It added that wry sense of humor each of these women possessed. My only complaint with the end was that it went way too quickly. I kept looking down at my place in the book and thinking, "There's no way that there's only 3% left in this book!" I wish Avivia had a little more time to tell her story, and given us a little more of her life in the moments that came after the ending.
This is a powerful story, told with humor and heart that I have come to expect from Gabrielle Zevin.
Most recent customer reviews
I started and finished this book in almost one sitting, and this book...Read more