Monday, March 24, 2014

Review The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

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Goodreads Link
This  was a highly buzzed book and I was fortunate to get a copy at ALA Annual 2 years ago. I was enraptured by the cover and the story premise: In 1922 fifteen year old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita for a summer in New York with the Denishawn school of dance. Accompanying her is Cora Carlisle a respectable married woman who hopes the time in New York will help her find out information about her birth parents.
Pretty quickly however the reader realizes that these two women are worlds apart. Louise is constantly escaping Cora’s watchful eyes and attracting the attention of a variety of men. Cora tries to explain to her the risk to her reputation but Louise pretends to listen.

As the two settle into their life in New York the gulf seems to widen as Cora puts her needs to the forefront. She doesn't abandon Louise but she becomes very tied up in the search for her parents.  Louise is in her element in the city, For a young woman she has the talent and the looks to assure her success but her attitudes are deplorable!

The problem with this book for me was that Louise came off as a selfish, spoiled and manipulative and Cora melds into a hypocrite in regards to breaking all the rules and morals that she consistently tries to force on Louise. Its really tricky writing about a historical figure in a fiction book. Though I don’t question Laura’s research , her portrayal of Louise had me constantly  rolling my eyes.
I don't know how accurate this portrayal of Brooks is but I’m not interested in finding out. To some extent Cora has a more complete journey in the novel. Cora becomes involved in the lives of a Father and his young daughter and it puts her life into a completely different trajectory.
I was really supplied with Cora’s actions but as secrets from her marriage are revealed it makes sense. I enjoyed Laura’s writing style and the glimpses into both women future  lives but I didn't really feel a deep connection to either or them.

1 comment:

Pamela D said...

This book does sound a bit problematic. Sorry it wasn't the best read. :(