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Hannah’s Pick of the Week: Jaded by Ela Lee

It slipped out, I told myself, you’re so sensitive these days! Am I the type of woman who picks fights with her man on a Sunday? Or am I the woman who understands he meant no harm and knows not to ruin an evening?

– Ela Lee, Jaded, pg. 226

Jade Kaya is right where she wants to be: she’s a first-generation university graduate and a rising corporate litigation lawyer. She’s willing to grit her teeth through another half-hearted EDI training if it means a chance to show off her talents on the next big case. She’s the picture-perfect daughter to her omma and baba, who sacrificed everything for her future, and Jade makes sure not to let things get to her.

But Jade is not Jade’s name at all. Her birth name is Ceyda, a name deemed too ‘difficult’ for people to pronounce properly. And so, she’s Jade to her power brokering co-workers, her beloved boyfriend of five years, and to whichever barista is making her coffee. To everyone, she’s Jade, until one night in which she becomes intoxicated at a work event and is taken home, and then taken advantage of, by a higher up colleague.

Then, Jade becomes ‘belligerent,’ ‘morose,’ ‘unfair,’ and ’emotionally volatile’ as she attempts to deal with the aftermath of her assault. The cracks in the relationships she’s worked so hard to create begin to show as Jade determines how much more she is willing to endure.

An incisive and unflinching look into how corporate misogyny, racism, and influence intersect, Jaded continues the literary work of the MeToo Movement. Lee reveals a relatable protagonist attempting to piece her life back together after assault, and she doesn’t shy away from all the realistically painful moments that come after. Jade is navigating the currents pulling her this way and that in a proverbial sinking ship, and her actions and interactions with the world around her reflect that. Lee’s debut is visceral, engrossing, and has both moments of humor and abject horror.

If you’ve read The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll or Old Enough by Haley Jakobson, or if you are simply looking for a timely and emotionally mature book, then I recommend Jaded.

                                                                                           Photo by Liz Seabrook

 

Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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