Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin was not what I expected. Billed as “a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister”, I anticipated a stirring and informative biography. Sadly, as author Jill Lepore explains, little is actually known about Jane Franklin Mecom’s life. Lepore does share what bits of information researchers have, which come mostly from letters Mecom kept from her big brother Benjamin. These letters, with their formal tone and inconsistent spelling, are sprinkled throughout the book and give a fascinating viewpoint of Jane, her family and the many trials she faced in her lifetime. Lepore also makes educated guesses about what Jane might have experienced, but much of the book discusses the time period, women’s roles, and Jane’s famous brother. Though Book of Ages has a misleading title, it’s still a well-written and interesting work, especially for Revolutionary War and/or Ben Franklin enthusiasts!
Profanity/Language: 4 mild obscenities; 6 derogatory names.
Violence/Gore: Several reports of violence involving the Revolutionary War and suicide; a character is beaten; fire destroys buildings (no casualties) and a mob tears down a house (no casualties).
Sex/Nudity: Two sexual references; several implied or reported accounts of sexual activity, including mention of the “intrigues of low women”.
Mature Subject Matter:
War, death of family members, illness, poverty, debt.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Mention of drinking.