Before the Me-Too Movement
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In this novel, 20-year-old Aviva Grossman works as an intern for Congressman Aaron Levin and ultimately has an affair with him. When they have a car wreck in which the other driver dies, their affair becomes public. This changes her life completely though his life and career buzz along without many repercussions.
The author tells this story from five points of view over a period of almost 20 years. We hear from Aviva’s funny mom, Rachel Shapiro; from Aviva’s adolescent daughter, Ruby; and from the Congressman’s wife, Embeth Levin. The other two perspectives are Jane Young, the new identity Aviva takes; and finally from Aviva herself.
The book asks two main questions. One is how do people come back from a bad — even catastrophic — choice in the past? And the other is why is all the shame in a situation like this placed on the young/dumb participant instead of the older more mature participant? Many aspects of shaming are explored especially as it applies to the internet era.
I loved this book. I was proud of all that Jane/Aviva accomplished in the years portrayed here and I am ever changed in my view of that real life intern in the blue dress who got mixed up with that older and should-have-been wiser politician in the 1990s.
Hey, Gabrielle Zevin — I loved this book and I loved The Storied Life of AJ Fikry too. Thanks for your great writing!