I was looking for some more easy, entertaining summer reads and remembered reading a number of Jane Green’s books years ago. I still have 3 on my bookshelf. So I downloaded a couple. I started Jemima J. and quickly realized I had read it before, but it had been long enough that I didn’t remember the details. So on I read.
Although this story was somewhat entertaining, I have a lot of issues with both the story and the writing. Granted, it was published in 2001 and I think was one of Jane Green’s first books. Writing-wise, she inconsistently switches between first person and narrator and first-person narrator which was pretty confusing. I did not like the random first-person narrator talking directly to the characters and readers. That works for movies and tv but not so much in written form.
The entertaining part of the storyline is that the internet is new and the characters are discovering chat rooms – the first form of online dating. The part I take issue with is the fact that the main character is an overweight woman who is miserable with her life, decides to make a lifestyle change for a man (Green kind of tries to deflect that this is the reason but not very convincingly), and does so to an unhealthy degree. I don’t care about spoilers for this book because it’s been around so long, but she ends up reconnecting with an old love who obviously falls for her, and Green half-heartedly implies that he was interested in her before she lost the weight. But again, not convincingly.
Overall, if you don’t think about it too hard, the book is entertaining and it’s definitely an easy read. And written when it was, I sadly think this kind of storyline was more widely accepted. Unfortunately, there are real life stories of women losing a ton of weight and only then feeling good about themselves and getting attention from men, but this is definitely not the message I personally would want to send out to my readers.
I’ll definitely read more of Green’s books, especially some of her newer ones. I’ve already started another and the writing is, at least, much better. Yay for summer reads!