Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thoughts on a Scandal

Yesterday I finished Young Jane Young.  

the fall colors of the cover made it feel seasonally appropriate

I highly recommend it.

Gabrielle Zevin did something magical with this book.  It's an issues book.  It definitely looks at how society views scandal and women and politics.  But it never feels like an issues book.  It feels real and honest.  You are not told what to think, you get to decide.  It was fun to read and inventive.

The story centers on a Monica Lewinsky-like scandal but it's told out of order and from different perspectives.  Aviva is an intern for an up-and-coming congressman and they have an affair.  It comes out and the congressman and Aviva cope in very different ways. 

We live in a world where everything is always up for discussion.  The mistakes people make no longer linger until the end of the news cycle, but are permanently searchable on the internet.  This is a new phenomenon.  Young Jane Young explores the repercussions of such a world.  Is it ok that people are forced to change their names in order to outrun a controversy?  How do I contribute to this situation?  Can it be changed?   These are the big questions I thought about while reading this.

But I also thought about the families at the heart of the novel.  I got to peek into the world of Boca Raton, Florida and see how two Jewish families dealt with the spotlight.  I LOVED reading the voices of Aviva's mother and grandmother.  I want to go to their homes and have a cup of tea right now.  Families and secrets and love were just as big of themes as the other issues and maybe that helped keep the book balanced.  

My favorite quote from this book was "When your mother is worrying about something, it means that you won't have to."  It's one of those lines that is just dripping with truth.  

Have you read this?  Do you want to?

I picked up Anne Bogel's book Reading People and Emily of New Moon to start.  I still have two or three other books going but it makes sense to finish one book and start two, right?

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