Book Title: Mary Jane
Author: Jessica Anya Blau
Genres: Historical Fiction, Coming of Age
Published: May 11th 2021 by Custom House
Mary Jane is a well written story about a young girl who finds who she truly is over a summer in the 1970s. I would not give this book the accolades written in the synopsis. While this story was reverting, I would not place this alongside Daisy Jones and the Six, a book that has stuck with me to this day. There is sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, but this remains the only similarities in these stories. I was also surprised to see the YA label, but I don’t often read books in this genre and perhaps the language and topics here are what to expect. Nonetheless, this was a fun, lighthearted, quick read and Jessica Anya Blau does a fabulous job of writing from the fourteen-year-olds perspective that’s both appealing and humorous. This book was filled with likable characters, and I found myself relating to Mary Jane in many ways—from her experiences of suppression of oneself by her parents to her carefree spirit and love of music. The writing and storyline ran flawlessly and I found myself often smiling as these characters found themselves and love in one another, if that’s an indication of how delightful this story is.
Almost Famous meets Daisy Jones and the Six in this funny, wise, and tender novel about a fourteen-year-old girl’s coming of age in 1970s Baltimore, caught between her straight-laced family and the progressive family she nannies for—who happen to be secretly hiding a famous rock star and his movie star wife for the summer.
In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family’s subscription to the Broadway Showtunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. A respectable job, Mary Jane’s mother says. In a respectable house.
The house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it’s a literal and figurative mess: clutter on every surface, Impeachment: Now More Than Ever bumper stickers on the doors, cereal and takeout for dinner. And even more troublesome (were Mary Jane’s mother to know, which she does not): the doctor is a psychiatrist who has cleared his summer for one important job—helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife move in.
Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule, and has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll (not to mention group therapy). Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.
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I adored that book that I chose to listen to in audiobook!
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How was the audio?