Weekend Read: Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin

Most of us probably remember Monica Lewinsky, and if you’re like me, you probably cringe just reading the name. Nothing good came of that scandal. But how many of us thought about it from Monica’s point of view? Young Jane Young allows us to do that – not with Monica, of course, but a fictional character named Aviva Grossman. As a young, impressionable college intern, Aviva has an affair with the congressman she works for, then makes the mistake of blogging about it. When the affair comes out in the media, Aviva’s life is ruined, while the congressman wins re-election and stays in Congress for decades.

Young Jane Young turns a keen eye on political scandals in our society and on how women often bear the weight of the fallout. Yet this story isn’t preachy or moralistic – it’s compelling and downright funny. The book is written in five sections, with five unique voices: Jane’s mother; her precocious daughter Ruby; Embeth, the congressman’s wife; and Jane, first as her mature self and then as her younger self, in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” format. Each section is infused with warmth and insight into being a daughter, a wife, and a mother. In the end, this is a wonderful story about overcoming adversity and about what it means to be a feminist in today’s world. A fantastic book.

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