“Where people were just doing what they wanted, without concern as to how it was seen. Maybe a person’s standing in the community was an illusion. Like the witch in the Cone house. An imagined evil that created unnecessary rules.”
Wow, well, what to say about Mary Jane… I get Mary Jane. Mary Jane is a fourteen year old girl who is being raised by very conservative WASP-y parents in the 1970’s. She takes a babysitting job for the summer with a new family in the neighborhood who is anything but conservative. At first, she is very uncomfortable by how openly loving the family is, how disordered their life is and how little oversight they give their daughter. She begins to give them structure, cooking and cleaning and teaching their daughter. As they begin to turn their love on her she realizes that keeping a perfect household may not be the end all be all for her life. When the family is joined by a rehabbing rock star and his movie star life, her world opens up even more.
I loved Mary Jane’s journey through the novel, she starts off with nothing but her rigid parents’ viewpoint and slowly begins to blossom into her own person. Now don’t get me wrong, the family she is nannying for are anything but admirable – they curse, do drugs and speak openly about sex around these children. I do not think any of the adults in this story made a great role model for Mary Jane but what I loved is that she used her own logic and discerning to figure out which pieces of each adult held value for her in her growing maturity. Blau perfectly captured the innocence and uncertainty of being a pre-teen and Mary Jane is navigating it all in such an open, honest way. This is a beautiful coming of age story that really shows the power of love and acceptance. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this novel. All opinions above are my own.
This book has lots of great music references, what’s your favorite book heavily featuring music?