YOUNG JANE YOUNG by Gabrielle Zevin plus Giveaway
Available now from Highbridge Audio.
From the Publisher:
“Young Jane Young’s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss—who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married—and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late night talk show punchline; she is slut shamed and considered a blight on politics in general.
How does one go on after this? In Aviva’s case, she sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. She tries to start over as a wedding planner, to be smarter about her life, and to raise her daughter to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, she decides to run for public office herself, that long ago mistake trails her via the Internet like a scarlet A. For in our age, Google guarantees that the past is never, ever, truly past, that everything you’ve done will live on for everyone to know about for all eternity. And it’s only a matter of time until Aviva’s daughter, Ruby, finds out who her mother was, and is, and must decide whether she can still respect her.”
From the Booklist review:
“Narrator White captures the indignation, resignation, and resilience of each character perfectly. She is as sympathetic and delightful recounting divorcée Rachel Grossman’s introduction to the senior dating scene as she is when she’s reading 13-year-old Ruby’s emails to an Indonesian pen pal. Ruby’s voice is little higher, a little faster. When White reads Rachel’s parts, her voice is slightly craggier, and Rachel’s sprinkling of Yiddish sounds natural.”
From the Library Journal Starred Review:
“That Aviva Grossman became infamous as “Florida’s answer to Monica Lewinsky” provides a quick snapshot of why she’s now living in small-town Maine as Jane Young. As a 20-year-old intern to Miami Congressman Aaron Levin, she not only had that affair with the married, older politician but was “young and dumb” enough to blog about their trysts for the whole world to read. At 33, Jane is now an events planner with an eight-year-old daughter, Ruby. And then fragile, lonely Franny walks into Jane’s office, engaged to marry Wes, who’s more bully than beau. His political intentions eventually morph into threats against Jane, who’s forced to realize how her past continues to threaten her future. Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry) gleefully exposes the media, male privilege, hypocrisy, and more, finding her ideal collaborator in narrator Karen White, who wheedles, weeps, snaps, cajoles, questions, and demands Zevin’s unforgettable characters into life. VERDICT Given Zevin’s substantial fan base, libraries should be prepared to offer this skillfully crafted novel in all formats.”
From the review at AudioFile Magazine:
“Narrator Karen White animates five perspectives in this story of Aviva, a young intern who has a disastrous affair with a congressman. The story is told by three generations of women, with their narratives advancing the story over 13 years. White excels at using accents, intonations, and emotions to create believable portrayals of primary and secondary characters. With equal aplomb, she portrays Aviva’s protective Jewish mother, Aviva herself after she’s reinvented herself as the witty Jane Young, Jane’s 13-year-old smart yet innocent daughter, and beleaguered Embeth, the congressman’s wife. Just as smoothly White transitions between the novel’s various literary devices, which include Ruby’s emails and a second-person “choose your own adventure” format. White captures relationship dynamics and irony with a light touch that reveals darker themes of sexism and the unforgiving nature of the Internet.”
My recording experience:
Besides the fact that I got to voice yet another parrot (you know I’m always up for that and am thankful to Jill Shalvis and the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books for providing prior experience) this book was full of interesting narration challenges, from the variety of characters to the nature of each voice, as described in the review above. On top of that, the issues the book tackles resonated with me as a woman. A couple of quotes that really had me ruminating: “to take care of something is to love it” and “a bad marriage was one that hadn’t had enough time to get good again”. Zevin‘s writing is smart and emotional – Young Jane Young would be a fantastic book club read as she gives us lots to think and talk about.
Listen to a sample here:
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Ila is the randomly selected winner and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address. Thanks to all for entering! I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter. Oftentimes, you can also enter there!