Get a Wiggle on, Bookworms,
It’s time for Jazz Age January! Leah at Books Speak Volumes is hosting this swell event. Today we’re going to celebrate this sockdollager with some great reading about the 1920s! My first pick for this event is The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, and was it EVER the bee’s knees!
The bulk of the book is set during the summer of 1922. Cora Carlisle is a 36 year old woman in need of an adventure and some answers about her past. When the opportunity presents itself to chaperone a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks to New York City for the summer, Cora jumps at the chance.
Unfortunately, Louise isn’t an easy gal to chaperone. Oh no, that little dollface has her own agenda that doesn’t include propriety, sobriety, or any other -iety. Louise is set on having a gas in the big city. Though Cora has her hands full trying to keep Louise out of trouble, we soon learn that Cora is no stranger to controversy.
Cora’s decision to accompany Louise was based in large part on her desperate desire to uncover some information on her birth family. Yep. Ye olde Orphan Train strikes again! Cora was shipped off from NYC as a 6-year-old and moved on to a life on a Kansas farm. But that’s not all. Cora’s life has more secrets than meet the eye and her trip to New York is more fruitful than she ever imagined.
I think what really made this book a winner for me was the opportunity to view social issues through a 1920’s lense. Cora’s escapade with Louise in the city was a vehicle to look at the era as a whole. Prohibition. Women’s suffrage. Birth control. Homosexuality. Marriage. Social hierarchy. It was downright titillating.
Oh, and BTW, modern folks, Louise Brooks goes on to become one of the most famous movie stars ever. She ruled silent films, but her difficult attitude led to her untimely downfall in the film industry. Louise’s life was crazy, but certainly never boring. She published her memoirs shortly before her death in 1985 to great acclaim. It would seem Louise managed to get the last laugh.
What is your favorite book about or written in the 1920s? Has anybody else read The Chaperone? What did you think?
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