Reviews by Georgia

Young Jane Young

By: Gabrielle Zevin

 Reviewed by: Georgia Rindler

 You know a book is good when you get to the end and want more. That is how I felt when I read the last page of Young Jane Young.

 Aviva Grossman had an affair with Congressman Aaron Levin while a college student interning in his office. The Grossman and Levin families had been neighbors in Boca Raton, Florida, when Aviva was in high school and Aaron a state senator. Mike Grossman used their past history to land his daughter an entry level job. She was a student at University of Miami majoring in Spanish literature and political science. He hoped this could get her started on a career path. It turned out to end her career before it even began. Aside from getting involved with a married man, Aviva made the youthful mistake of blogging about her relationship with the senator. When an automobile accident revealed Levin was with a young intern, it didn't take long for her readers and his constituents to put two and two together. With the affair public knowledge, Aviva took the brunt of the blame. She became the joke of Florida politics while the popular, beloved congressman moved up in government positions.

 The second part of the book takes place over a decade later in Maine. Jane Young is an event planner and knew Aviva when she lived in Florida in 2001. When Jane decides to run for mayor of her small town, disturbing allegations are made. Wes West is also running for mayor of Allison Springs and insists Jane Young and Aviva Grossman are one in the same. He is using the information to his advantage in the election. Adding to Jane’s campaign troubles is her thirteen-year-old daughter. Ruby was told her father died in a car accident before she was born. The teen is aware of the gossip going around town and isn’t afraid to do an internet search on the names she’s heard. It is all very convincing and Ruby believes her mother has been lying to her all these years. But she wants to draw her own conclusion on her parentage. Ruby is internet savvy and competent beyond her years. She discovers you can do almost anything with a smartphone, a business American Express account, and a printer. She purchases a ticket to Miami, arranges transportation to the airport and circumvents airline policies for unaccompanied minors.  

 What happens next is a surprising, yet plausible storyline for Jane and Ruby and some unsuspecting Floridians. Gabrielle Zevin writes a novel demonstrating how the past is never really behind you, especially in the days of Google searches and information that is not forgotten, only magnified.

 Young Jane Young can be found in the fiction section of the library; FIC ZEV.

 December 2017

 

The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!

By: Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

Reviewed by: Georgia Rindler

Martha Andersson is a 79-year-old thief. She and her four friends, the League of Pensioners, are on Sweden’s Most Wanted list. Living in Las Vegas for 6 months following the art robbery in Stockholm, their intentions were to lie low before resuming their life of crime. But fate took over and they found themselves in a predicament that needed a timely decision.

Returning from the supermarket to The Orleans Hotel & Casino, the group became entangled with three men walking dogs. There was much confusion, a lot of noise and hurriedness. The pensioners ended up with a dog collar filled with stolen diamonds.

In Sweden, the senior citizens lived in an institutional type of retirement home where conditions were not good. They managed to break free and started a Robin Hood type lifestyle. Their intent was to amass five hundred million dollars and use the money for promotion of the arts, police pension fund and geriatric care in their home country. The robbery money was a revolving fund; it came in and went out almost immediately.

Each pensioner had his or her strengths and played them well. Martha was the obvious boss of the operation. She devised the plans and convinced the others to follow. Oscar “Brains” Krupp was quite handy with tools and could jerry-rig almost anything to make it work for their job. Bertil “Rake” Engstrom was a former sailor and quite the ladies’ man. This got him into trouble at times. Anna-Greta Biekle was musically inclined and savvy on the computer. She also had a talent for faking a faint, falling and distracting attention away from the rest of the group, which came in handy multiple times. Christina Akerblom was very sociable and had two adult children, Anders and Emma who were hired by the group to help with household tasks. Eventually they were enlisted with more sophisticated assignments.

Since the monetary goal had not been accomplished, the incident in Las Vegas seemed like the perfect stimulus to get back to work. The group was precise in the scheme to smuggle the diamonds into Sweden. Changing planes in Chicago made them more difficult to trace. Bags coming from the United States were searched at the Stockholm Arlanda airport but those from neighboring Nordic countries were not. They acquired tags from luggage on a Copenhagen flight. But best laid plans often go awry, as was the case with the pensioners. After some difficulty at customs, the diamonds entered Sweden inside a cane. But in all the confusion, the cane was left behind. And that’s only the beginning of the comedy of errors.

The five purchase a large country house outside of Stockholm and continue their work to help those in need. Defying physical limitations and memory lapses, the group does a remarkable job of pulling heists. They use the disabilities to their advantage, but always seem to be hit with another problem. Stolen goods are lost or forgotten, assets are mistakenly deposited into the wrong account and the name Outlaw Oldies on their mailbox attracts the attention of bikers living down the road. Their bumbling exploits make for a humorous, albeit far-fetched story.

The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!  is an enjoyable read and can be found in the fiction section of the library: FIC ING.                             November 2017