!!! Spoilers !!!
I have never seen a book struggle so much to fill its pages with content. Young Jane Young is a waste of paper, and I am not speaking figuratively.
I don't know what I was expecting from this book, but this wasn't it. This was a mess.
The book is broken into points of view of 4 people, and a third person narrative for some stupid reason, but later on that.
Rachel, who is main character's mother, is the nastiest, most horrible, selfish and just plain icky person. You know I thought that I loved messed up characters, but I might only love them if Liz Nugent (an author of Lying in Wait, highly recommend) writes them, because I despised Rachel. I guess her point of view was "interesting", but I did not enjoy it. And the time hops, ohh the time hops - is it so hard to mark your chapters with "past" and "present" ?? Time hops were only present in Rachel's chapters, which was ridiculous, and so unnecessary. Blergh. Needless to say that I was happy hen it switched over to Jane.
Jane's point of view is actually the only one I really enjoyed. But I do have to say that she paints herself in much better light than she really is. Although, I didn't blame her at all. Not till the 3rd person narrative started. Jane's point of view made me think that this book could be good, that I could give it maybe 3.5 rating (which now seems so foolishly generous to me). But things got bad.
Things got bad with Ruby. First of all - the format switch. Why? It was told in emails between Ruby and her pen pal from Indonesia, who literally had no voice or relevance in the story except for being the recipient of these emails (by the way, when the book ended there was not a single mention of the pen pal, proving that it was a thoughtless addition to the story). Then there's Ruby. Her chapters were filled with USELESS ramblings and trivia pieces on things that I literally gave zero fucks about. It's so obvious that the author only had about 150 pages factual content for this book, but to fill the page requirements filled it with useless crap.
But it gets worse. But first, Embeth. I liked her point of view too, but there just wasn't enough of it to paint her as a cohesive character. Plus the parrot thing was so stupid! Okay, if she had more page time and was more developed - it would maybe have been touching (and that's stretching it). Is she lovely? Is she literally going crazy? We will never know.
Now, dear readers, for the last 30 percent of the book let me rehash the whole story in 3rd person, while adding small details of the missing plot. Ah, also it's a game. Sort of. Also, I have no content so some pages will only contain one paragraph of the information you already know, and some even just one fucking sentence on the whole page! - this is what I imagine went in the author's head, while she was writing it, because I see no other explanation.
For the book that was heavy on feminist agenda, none of the women really represented a strong female character. I'm not even going to try and dissect Rachel, because I've erased her from my memory. Rachel who?
Jane was stupid. Okay, yes we all make mistakes. Yes, we're allowed to, yes we're human. But we also learn from the mistakes, hopefully. It took painfully looooooooooong time for Jane to learn anything. Also, if you don't want to be labeled as a slut (whether you're a woman or a man), well maybe don't act like one? Yes, you can be forthcoming and confident in your sexuality and you don't have to answer to anybody for what you do and with who you do it.
But you still have to have some semblance of morals, no? Not once did she think that she was ruining a family. Not once did she think about the wife (okay Levin told her that he and his wife were on the rocks, but why would you believe a cheating man's word is beyond me). Because you want to believe it, because it quiets your conscience, what little of it you have. Okay, she did think about those things, but only in relation to her - how it affected her, not how it affected the wife or the sons.
Frannie never found the guts to leave her abusive husband. Ruby sold out her own mother. Rachel sold out her own daughter. Embeth chose love, one sided as it was. Roz believed the lies of her new boyfriend over the words of her life long friend. Literally, none of those women know what solidarity is. Or what it means to support other women.
Also, why Jane never told Jorge? Why didn't he deserve to know about his daughter (side note, I thought Jorge was gay. So it was disappointing to find out the he turned out to be the father). And how on earth didn't he put two and two together when he talked with Embeth about it?
Just in case it wasn't clear from my review - I was not a fan.
Ohh, almost forgot about the ending. The reader gets to decide how it ends - did she win the election, did she not? WE WILL NEVER KNOW.