Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

young jane youngI picked this book up at my favourite used bookstore. I was on the hunt for Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (he had just won the Nobel Prize for Literature). Found the book I went in for and then….you know what happens next…I’ll just take a look around….

I thought it had a really interesting premise: intern has an affair with a married congressman (where have we heard that before?) and re-invents herself. Since I was ‘saving money’ on getting the Ishiguro book used, why not buy it?

I really liked this book. It is smart and funny.

I have written previously that my favourite book is The Sound and the Fury – this has a similar structure to it. There are 5 parts to the book and each one is written from a different character’s perspective and in their voice. After I read the first part, I was thinking, how is she going to sustain the narrative for 300 pages? Then I started the next section and went – right! This is how.

Each part really feels like it is in a different voice. She employs different structures in each one to give it a totally unique feel – one has short chapters, one is one long chapter, one is a series of emails, etc. I thought that was really clever. It made the book feel fresh even though the same story was being (kinda) told over and over.

There is obviously some broader themes that need to be addressed if you take on this story: slut-shaming, feminism, right to privacy. I think these were handled well and never in a heavy-handed way.

If you are looking for a book that is smart and funny (I LOL’d in many spots) then I would highly recommend this book.

I rated it 4/5 on Goodreads.

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