Brit Book Review: Chaperones by Megan Karasch

Chaperones

Andrea is a sheltered, pious and WAY over-parented 26 year old living in Los Angeles.  Just as she’s offered a dream job—touring England while photographing major historical sites for a new book, her boyfriend Brandon throws her a relationship curveball.  Guided by her chaperones, Rob and Harry, Andrea uses her time in England to think things over, relationship-wise, and at the same time, she finally begins to grow up.

I initially had some difficulty connecting with the main character, Andrea.  Maybe it was the schmaltzy artwork on the front cover, or that I am not remotely what you might call “sheltered,” but I just could not buy what the author was trying to sell me.  I understand that Andrea is conservative and kept on a tight leash by her parents—but the character grew up in L.A. and is THAT naive?  She’s also really, really paranoid and it drove me nuts!

On her first day in London, Andrea is described as walking around with her hand on the pepper spray, ready to  pounce on every man in London wearing an overcoat because she is sure they are all going to “flash their junk” at her…the absurdity of it had me rolling my eyes.  To be fair, her fears about everything drove the other characters in the book nuts, so maybe the extremeness of it all was just highlight the changes that needed to be made by Andrea as she matured.

I also found it ridiculous that Andrea’s parents would go to the level that they did, like following your child to the store by creeping along hiding in bushes?  They have bushes in L.A.?   Again, maybe the author was just trying to foreshadow the personal growth to come, but it bordered on ridiculous.   Case in point—the language that comes out of the mouths of both Andrea and her parents (in my house, we called them “colorful metaphors”, and yes, we were Trekkies) is a little hard to believe given the fact that they are portrayed so uptight and moral.

I realize that this review sounds like the book did not have any redeemable qualities and that is not the case.  I firmly believe that every book has its reader, but that this just was not my book.  Like any book, the main character gets redeemed by the end of the story because of the trials and tribulations she encounters during her trip to England. The dialogue is largely well-written, the scenic descriptions make it easy for the reader to imagine where Andrea is standing and the characters (once they stopped annoying me) became likable.  This is an easy beach reach for your upcoming vacation.

Comments

  1. avatarApple says

    I headed over to Amazon to see what other people were saying about this book. I was amazed at how similar the reviews were.

    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    Sweet, Lovely, Funny and Fun!
    By Susan Elizabeth Barton on August 1, 2013

    I was excited to begin reading Chaperones because it centered around one of my favorite things – photography – but I soon found it was much more than that. Chaperones is about love, relationships, growing up and finding oneself.

    Andrea is a sheltered, over-parented twenty-six year old young woman who lives in Los Angeles and is at a relationship crossroad with her boyfriend, Brandon. She’s offered the assignment of a lifetime – the opportunity to tour England while photographing castles, cathedrals and other spectacular English landmarks. Thinking she’s embarking on this journey alone, Andrea is more than a little surprised when she’s told she’ll have two chaperones – Rob and Harry – joining her. Through a series of mishaps, missteps, disasters and personal revelations, Andrea finally begins to mature and grow.

    I initially had some difficulty connecting with the main character, Andrea. As a former twenty-six year and now the parent of a twenty-six year old, I had a bit of trouble believing that someone could be that sheltered – especially someone who lives in Los Angeles. Andrea’s fears of practically everything became tiresome quickly to everyone around her (including me). And, the behavior of Andrea’s parents – George and Annie – bordered on psychotic at times (hiding in the bushes to make sure your tween makes it safely to the corner store?). This was helicopter parenting to the extreme. As I read the beginning I had a sense that the author did this as way to accentuate the character transformations that would probably be coming by the end of the book. And I was right, but that was alright because it worked.

    The dialogue in Chaperones is witty, genuine and intelligent (although at times I had a bit of trouble believing that two people as pious and uptight as Andrea’s parents – and to some extent, Andrea herself – would use so many swear words). The interaction between characters (particularly after Andrea’s transformation) was insightful, lovely and charming. The descriptions of England and all its grand glory were detailed and described exceptionally well.

    • avatarJill says

      I noticed that as well, I usually check out the reviews after I’ve sent mine in, just to see if what I thought was even remotely close to what others thought. Sometimes it’s scary how alike people think!

  2. avatarYvonne says

    I haven’t read this book yet but what you mentioned about the parents spying on their kid to make sure they got home ok, I knew kids in school whose parents were that extreme. I even had one friend where her father would follow her on dates like a policeman on TV. She got married with the first guy who proposed just so she could get out of the house. It’s not uncommon. RARE nowadays but not uncommon even in LA I guess. Hope this helps.

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