Monday, August 23, 2010
Jemima J is the first book I've read by by Jane Green. Green's name always pops up on Amazon when I look at books by authors I enjoy such as Sophie Kinsella and Jennifer Weiner, so I decided to give her a shot.
Jemima J is partially centered around internet dating. It was published in 1999. That makes it quite hilarious, in ways both intentional and not.
It's quite funny and amazing to think how far we've come in just over 10 years. Jemima and her friends are amazed at this shiny new thing called the internet and they can't wait to get on and try it out. Which takes a while since they're using dial up. No one in the book has a cell phone and they use calling cards for long distance. I remember thinking I was quite cool in high school because there was this boy I had a crush on who lived in Tulsa and got a calling card so he could call me. I thought it was all quite grown up. How much easier a long distance relationship between Tulsa and OKC would be today. I actually did have a cell phone at that time because my parents were totally paranoid about me driving by myself, but it didn't have long distance and I was one of the few teenagers I knew at that time that had one. That would have been my sophomore year of high school, 1997. Robbie and I also e-mailed back and forth with the few AOL minutes we had available. Which seemed so amazing at that time. I sit here looking at what I'm doing online right now and thinking about all of the other things we can do and it's just amazing how quickly it all exploded.
The first thing Jemima and her friends Ben and Geeraldine do online is look up porn simply because they're curious that it really exists out there. It's quite funny reading about them deciding what to type and then waiting patiently while a picture loads line by line. Remember when pictures used to load like that? Then they go to a chat room because that was about the only other thing you could at that time.
And yet how things stay the same. Once there, they create a profile for a young girl and promptly get hit on by an old man. Then Jemima comes back the next day and she and another guy start flirting and suddenly they are internet dating.
Jemima J is a rather large woman at the beginning of the book, but she doesn't want her hottie in LA that she's dating online to know that so they have the graphics guy at the newspaper they work for Photoshop the photo to make her skinny. Then of course the guy wants to meet her. What will she do? The book is about her struggle to lose weight and her huge crush on Ben, one of her coworkers, as well. Will she lose the weight? Will she choose Brad the internet hottie or Ben? Will she be happy?
You'll have to read the book to to find out. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but there was one thing that would occasionally make me want to reach out and slap Green or perhaps her editor. The book goes back and forth from first person narratives to a third person omniscient narrator. At times this was jarring and felt like Green just couldn't make up her mind on which way to go and did both and for some reason her editor didn't make her pick one. Other times, and especially as a got further into the book, this became quite enjoyable. I like getting both perspectives, and the third person narrator was usually quite funny. I usually like having multiple narrators, but it just didn't flow naturally for me in the beginning of this book. If that annoys you this might not be the book for you. Otherwise, it's a good, quick read that will give you some good laughs and perhaps motivate you to get up and exercise and eat a little better.
Have you read any of Jane Green's other books? Any favorites?