In this sweet fast paced coming of age story readers will laugh along with protagonist, Molly Peskin-Suso, as she stumbles into adulthood in this modern age of social media and cell phones. I love how patriarchal assumptions are being challenged by the characters. In this scene, where Molly and her sister Cassie are meeting some friends for the first time, the conversation turns to their collective bat mitzvah.
“‘I love that you have your bar mitzvah in front of your parents and grandparents and everyone, and like, that’s the Jewish version of ‘becoming a woman.” He leans forward, grinning. ‘But in my religion-‘
‘You are not religious,’ Mina says.
‘In my religion,’ he repeats emphatically, ‘you become a woman by…’ He forms an O with his left hand and pokes through it with his right pointer finger, again and again and again.
‘Jesus Christ, Max. Stop it. I’m serious,’ Mina stands up.
‘Yeah, that’s pretty fucking problematic,’ Cassie says calmly.
‘What?’ Max looks wounded. ‘How is that problematic? The Jewish thing?’
‘Um, let’s start with the implication that becoming a woman has anything to do with whether or not you’ve had sex.’
I have to admit, my sister is a badass. She just doesn’t get intimidated by people. I don’t know how to be like that.
‘Ohhh, geez. Okay. I was kidding.’ Max sighs.
‘And you know what? I’m pretty much done with this construct of ‘virginity.” Cassie does air quotes. ‘Which I’m sure you think applies to hetero, vaginal sex.’
‘You think a person can lose their virginity from oral sex?’
‘Yes,’ Cassie says.
‘I mean, I think people have this mentality that sex is only real if it involves a penis,’ Cassi says finally.” (p. 75-77)
This story addresses the legalization of same sex marriage (Molly and Cassie’s moms get married).
The author also addresses the changing nature of relationships between family members as well as friends when romantic partners begin to enter the dynamics.
” I think every relationship is actually a million relationships.” (p. 335)
And Molly expresses the self doubt we all carry in secret, “I just feel like I’m a really defective girl in some ways.” (p. 135)