Title: Young Jane Young
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publish Date: August 22, 2017
My Rating: 4/5
Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her boss–and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the beloved congressman doesn’t take the fall. But Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins: slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics.
She sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. This time, she tries to be smarter about her life and strives to raise her daughter, Ruby, to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, Aviva decides to run for public office herself, that long-ago mistake trails her via the Internet and catches up–an inescapable scarlet A. In the digital age, the past is never, ever, truly past. And it’s only a matter of time until Ruby finds out who her mother was and is forced to reconcile that person with the one she knows.
Young Jane Young is a smart, funny, and moving novel about what it means to be a woman of any age, and 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.
Jane Young was once Aviva Grossman. Aviva was in her early twenties when she was an intern for a Florida Congressman. She had an affair with him, and it adversely affected her future. While the Congressman was forgiven and his career and marriage survived, Aviva was unable to find work and had to move away and change her name.
This story is divided into five sections and is told from different points of view. The first section is from Rachel’s, Aviva’s mother, point of view and includes some history of the scandal. The second section is from Jane’s point of view and covers what is currently happening in her life. The third section is from Ruby’s, Jane’s daughter, point of view and covers current events. The fourth chapter is from Embeth’s, the Congressman’s wife, point of view about current events. The final section is from Aviva/Jane’s point of view and covers the scandal to current events.
I liked the different viewpoints in this novel. While Aviva obviously made a poor decision as a young woman, the scandal did not only affect her life, but those of other’s too. Her parents, primarily her mother, had to deal with the consequences of Aviva’s affair. The Congressman’s wife, Embeth, had to deal with public scrutiny of her marriage and her decision to stay with her husband. These women all made mistakes, but they were also strong in their own ways.
I enjoyed the writing and it was an easy reading novel. This was a quick read, but it dealt with some important topics, mainly the differences that men and women face when such scandals arise.