Jessica Anya Blau
May 11, 2021
Mary Jane is a coming of age story of a 14 year old girl working for the family (the Cones) of a psychiatrist as a summer nanny. There is a patient also living in the home, a rock star who is trying to rehab himself. This is a dream come true for every teeny-bopper girl and a nightmare for her parents.
Because of the age of Mary Jane, I was thinking that this might be a young adult story. I changed my mind as I was reading…..there are some situations that perhaps would not be suitable for a young teenager.
Mary Jane comes from a home where feelings are never expressed, very little emotion is shown. And, certainly, nothing spontaneous or impulsive happens. She thinks this is the normal way of life. Once she gets to the Cones, she sees spontaneity, talking in loud happy voices, verbally expressing everything that seems to matter.
I love Mary Jane’s charge, Izzy. She is a very loving little girl, eager to learn, eager to experience life. The two of them quickly develop a close bond.
Every character in the book is well developed and complex. The interaction of the characters is like watching a soap opera. Sex, drugs, rock’n roll and even group therapy on the beach.
I loved that music was always present in the home. There were spontaneous outbursts of song, whether they were show tunes, rock music from the 1970s or the fictional rock star’s tunes.
This book is a story about relationships. The polar opposite relationships that Mary Jane experienced between the Cone’s home and her parents’ home. The natural angst of her puberty is heightened with the confusion of such different lifestyles.
It is a life-changing summer for Mary Jane, she learns a lot about herself and life. She finds herself and her voice.
The ending was not quite what I expected. Perhaps it was a little too tidy. But I was satisfied.