I love books that switch between POV, especially when it is done well, and Young Jane Young excels in that. Each of the four sections are told from the point of view of people in Jane Young/Aviva Grossman’s life as she navigates an affair with a congressmen as a college student, being a mother, being an event planner, and running for office. Each voice is unique and lovely to read and the way the story unfolds, almost forward and then backwards again make it a fun read.
At the end of her college career, Aviva Grossman falls into an affair with her married congressman boss and when the affair is exposed, it is her life that is ruined, not his. She’s forced to take time off from college, she becomes the laughing stock of her community, and she can’t find a job using her real name. So she decides to reinvent herself to escape her past. This story isn’t about finding out what will happen to Aviva Grossman/Jane Young, but instead unraveling what DID happen to her through the points of view of her mother, her daughter, the wife of the congressman, and eventually, Aviva herself.
Though this story was rife with weird political jabs, I really enjoyed it. It was an inventive story telling technique and the crafting of each voice was so carefully done that it was artisanal. Each woman: the mother, the daughter, the wife, and Aviva were SO distinctive that I felt that I could pick them out off the street.
Though I liked the premise of this novel, a young girl whose life seems to be ruined because of an affair, I really enjoyed how they novel went forward from that and explored her life beyond the affair, because Aviva/Jane is so much more than her affair fifteen years ago. The book gives you a glimpse into her life as a mother, as an event planner, as a potential public official herself, and allows you to draw your own conclusions about the affair throughout the book until finally we go back in time and Jane/Aviva explains it to us in real time.
The book kept me entertained and if you’re looking for a book full of strong female characters, this is the one for you!