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.
I eventually fell in love with Andrea’s character and found myself rooting for her romantic happiness. Megan Karasch has artfully taken a slightly irritating, overgrown child and turned her into a perceptive, confident, mature woman right before our eyes.
I would highly recommend Chaperones to readers who might enjoy a sweet and funny story about life, love and relationships (and who doesn’t?). As a side note, this book gets major props for absolutely no typos! I look forward to Megan’s next work!