“Mary Jane” – A coming of age slice of life


Zara Morgan , Managing Editor/Features Editor

Genre: non-fiction, historical fiction, coming-of-age, young adult
TRIGGER WARNING: “Mary Jane” is a book that has mature themes that one should look into before reading. Trigger warnings include the descriptions of nudity, intercourse and other sexual actions.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Genres: nonfiction, young adult, adult, adult fiction, coming of age, slice of life, historical fiction

“Mary Jane” is a coming of age novel by Jessica Anya Blau surrounding a fourteen-year-old girl in the seventies. The main character, Mary Jane has been hired to be the nanny for the daughter of what seems to be a respectable couple. The reality is that despite Dr. Cone, the husband, being a doctor, their house is a mess. Additionally, the reason that they have the need for a summer nanny is even more shocking. The husband is a doctor that has taken the summer off to house a rockstar and his movie star wife in hopes of helping the rockstar get clean from drugs.

Her parents are very strict and have set harsh conservative guidelines for Mary Jane to follow and the Cone household is the exact opposite. The house is cluttered with mess and their fridge is full of spoiled food. Mary Jane uses the strict lessons on keeping a house in order in order to introduce the family to new things like ironed clothes and organized shelves in exchange for a lessons on sex, drugs and rock music.

Throughout the story we see Mary Jane learn important lessons about family and how you can still love someone even after they have made a terrible mistake. Mary Jane discovers things about drugs and introduces herself to music she’s never heard before but doesn’t want to stop listening to.

At the end of the summer, it’s all about reconciling the person Mary Jane was and the person she is now and the balancing act of two worlds colliding.

If you like books set in the seventies, the book is filled with references to everything from macrame to President Ford. If you liked books such as “Daisy Jones and the Six,” you will absolutely love “Mary Jane.”

The deeper you get into the novel, the more Mary Jane discovers. She learns that not everything that her mother has taught is true, and there is always more than meets the eye. Mary Jane is an adorable, innocent character that readers only want the best for. She’s naive about the world, and for part of the book considers herself a “sex addict” despite her never having kissed a boy.

I loved reading “Mary Jane” because it is an entertaining slice of life novel surrounding a girl that we can all relate to.