Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her (married) boss. Read more...
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Customers Also BoughtMore About Young Jane Young by Gabrielle ZevinOverviewFrom the author of the international bestseller The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry comes another novel that will have everyone talking.
Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her (married) boss. When the affair comes to light, the popular 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, 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, serious, and moving novel about the myriad ways in which roles are still circumscribed for women, whether they are young and ambitious interns; mothers attempting to steer their daughters through a male-dominated world; political wives facing an age-old knowledge that fidelity isn't always honored; or young girls feeling bold about their many choices before they realize the gender restrictions all around them. Gabrielle Zevin captures not only the double standards alive and well in every aspect of life for women but also the mood of our recent highly charged political season.
Life after scandal
From bestselling novelist Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry) comes a fresh take on a classic theme. Young Jane Young features witty yet compassionate storytelling from four women at different stages of their lives, each relating to the same event that uprooted them in profound and personal ways.
Twenty-year-old Aviva Grossman is a congressional intern in South Florida with a budding career in politics. When her affair with a married congressman is discovered, her name is smeared across media outlets nationwide. In a final display of their uneven power dynamic, the blame of the affair disproportionately falls on Aviva. The congressman is consistently re-elected, while Aviva struggles to find work even out of state. The scope of her transgressions would never have tarnished her entire adult life if not for the unfortunate timing of the ubiquity of the internet and an anonymous (albeit transparent) blog she kept of the affair. Drawing appropriate parallels to Hester Prynne, Aviva decides to flee South Florida to a remote town in Maine, in the hope of beginning a new life on her own terms.
Through the relatable, entertaining perspectives of Aviva, her mother, Aviva’s teen daughter and the congressman’s wife, Zevin presents a complex and intelligent story without becoming dense. The novel’s readability does nothing to diminish the quality of its themes. The feminist message is straightforward, from its overt discussion of the topic to the presentation of its male characters, who are the supporting cast to a group of strong, unforgettable leading women.
Zevin works creatively with arrangement, allowing the story to develop nonlinearly. She uses brilliantly unusual formats, such as a series of outgoing emails to a pen pal as a way for a precocious teen to speak candidly. The final section is told through a playful choose-your-own-ending format, which, tellingly, only provides one choice—a simple yet profound way to look upon the past.