“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.
I expected to really like this book, but I was surprised by how much fun I had reading it! It’s a captivating story, well-written, a quick read, and a great reading experience.
Welcome to March Calendar Girls! I’m feeling good today. Spring is here, I’m bound to not be sick anymore soon, and the future is looking up! I’m ready to talk about books. Who else is ready to talk about books?
Our theme for this month is Women’s History Month: books featuring a strong female lead. I had to think for a bit about this one. What is a strong female lead?
Typically when we talk about the strong female lead we’re talking about the warrior women. And, of course, the first book that came to mind was my all-time favorite, The Lord of the Rings. Eowyn has long been one of my favorite characters in literature because she rides to war with the men, but does so for love rather than glory. I was very much looking forward to talking about her for a few hundred words until I realized she’s not the lead. *sigh*
Which got me to thinking about my other favorite book: Pride and Prejudice. Because, is Elizabeth Bennett not also a strong character? Strength doesn’t only have to refer to strength in arms. Elizabeth thinks for herself, knows what she wants, and doesn’t let the men in her life tell her what to do. To me that is the definition of a strong female lead!
And yet, there’s also the anti-strong-female-lead idea, which proposes that those characters are just proof of how we prefer men by putting traditionally masculine qualities on to women before we can get behind them. Perhaps a woman like Mrs. Weasley who does what makes her happy and doesn’t worry about what she “should” want or do would be the most appropriate kind of woman to celebrate this month.
As you can see, I am waaaaay overthinking this prompt.
So right now I am stopping and going with my gut. My favorite (or at least a favorite) book featuring a strong female lead is…
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Okay, so I admit that this pick is … unusual. But what I love about Jane Eyre is that she is strong. She takes control of her own life, despite the multitude of people who are trying to set her path for her. She doesn’t let society’s expectations dictate who she is or who she will be. She has the sort of strength of character to say no to something she really wants when she knows it is the right thing to do. Jane is a woman that I have looked up to for my entire adult life.
For those of you who don’t know, Jane Eyre is the story of an orphan raised in terrible, abusive situations, who rises to become a governess in a wealthy home. She falls in love with the master of the house, but there is more to Mr. Rochester than meets the eye. It’s moody, mysterious, brooding, and the original feminist novel. (my opinion)
While I’ve seen modern feminists critique Jane Eyre, at the time it was written it was like nothing literature had ever seen before. Even now, nearly two hundred years later, it remains one of the most celebrated works of literature in history. And it was written by a WOMAN. Y’all, that’s pretty amazing.
Women’s History Month Favorite Book with a Strong Female Lead
Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile, and is now be hosted by me (!), Katie, and Adrienne at Darque Dreamer Reads. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers, and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl.
Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and I will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!
Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh’s medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and—perhaps worst of all—her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.
Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city’s ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St Giles’ Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah’s patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers.
Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patient’s, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh’s dank alleyways, bawdy houses and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh’s most lucrative trades, and, in doing so, puts her own life at risk…
I enjoyed The Wages of Sin! It was a fun, light read with a little bit of feminism thrown in for good measure. However, I’m not sure it was a particularly well-written book.
Genres: Young Adult, Action/Adventure, Fiction
Maturity Level: 5 View on Goodreads
When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.
I expected Beauty Queens to be hilarious (oh my gosh, it was), but I didn’t expect it to be so empowering. I expected it to challenge the reader on the way they look at beauty pageant contestants, but not the way we look at lesbians, trans-gender girls, bisexuals, or minorities. I was shocked at how this book was about finding yourself, whoever it is that yourself might be. Continue reading “Review: Beauty Queens”→