by: Jessica Anya Blau
In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family’s subscription to the Broadway Show Tunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. A respectable job, Mary Jane’s mother says. In a respectable house.
The house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it’s a literal and figurative mess: clutter on every surface, IMPEACHMENT: Now More Than Ever bumper stickers on the doors, cereal and takeout for dinner. And even more troublesome (were Mary Jane’s mother to know, which she does not): The doctor is a psychiatrist who has cleared his summer for one important job—helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife move in.
Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule, and has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll (not to mention group therapy). Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓
Kim Shipley suggested we read this little gem of a book. It was such a fun coming of age story – loved it! I pictured an American hybrid of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger as the “rock star”. Often, we churn through books and can’t remember them a week later. This book has stuck with me over the past month- a very original storyline.
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓1/4
So much fun to read! Especially fun for us music-loving, groovy in our own minds, groupie wanna-be, children of the mid-60’s and early 70’s. Mary Jane is a gem, and her cast of supporting characters is a hoot! You will be rooting for all of them – except maybe Mary Jane’s Dad and the cringe-worthy Beanie. A tiny bit reminiscent of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six, but more fun and enjoyable. Fast and easy, maybe a little corny, but a “feel good” ride all the way! Read it!