Zevin's heroines: Rachel, Aviva/Jane, and Ruby, are three generations of Grossmans, but the youngest doesn't know anything about her grandmother, or, as it turns out, her mother. Like the other books of Zevin's that I've read (all but Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, which is not available as an ebook from any of public library systems I have a card for. V irritated by that.), it's compelling. Jane maybe isn't as meaty as the others, but I still recommend it as a book about an adult woman coming to terms with a mistake from her youth that had unfairly giant repercussions.
There's evocative imagery here and there, like a handbag that is described as "a shiny leather pentagon with brass corners." Clearly the handbag owner is no one to fuck with, but then, she goes reaching for a Band-Aid from the bag's depths. Another wonderfully startling image is when a bride-to-be is described as looking like a "glum goldfish." Why is that so amazing to me. Do goldfish even have expressions?
I also like when Aviva/Jane puts a gender essentialist florist in his place.
"My phalaenopsis, whatever her sexual presentation or preference, is a girl. For you to insist otherwise is to confuse gender and sex."
In other politically sophisticated moments, Ruby has a pen pal from Indonesia and at one point writes to her,
Maybe you're not a good "sample" either. Maybe it is silly to try to learn about cultures from "pen pals." All you can really learn about is the specific person you're writing to."
In my last review I complained about a white woman writing about a Black character with little depth, and now I'm annoyed that a woman of color is writing about a white woman. I don't want to say that people need to write only within their identities, but both cases are disappointing to me. I want POC to represent their lives in fiction and other media. But whatever, this is not about me.