Author Guest Post
Beyond My Comfort Zone
By: Megan Karasch
In theory, studying abroad in England was a no-brainer. An adventure in the country that birthed the likes of Hugh Grant, David Beckham and Dan Stevens? “Sign me up!” When the trip turned from theory to reality, however, I thought nothing of those handsome chaps and more for the fact that I would be 5,000 miles from home, with absolutely no one I knew, for nine months, in a country about which my only knowledge was their Romcoms and love of tea. The sum of these parts equaled one large, ludicrous crying spell at the airport, which prompted my loving, albeit practical, parents to say these simple but impactful words: “You don’t have to go. But ask yourself if you’ll regret it if you don’t.” – another no brainer. Had I let fear consume me that day and bailed on England, I would have missed what became a life-altering, eye-opening experience. This is the situation out of which Andrea Lieberman, the main character of Chaperones, was born.
As one character in Chaperones so eloquently puts it, Andrea is a girl “afraid of her own nose hairs.” While this is, of course, an exaggeration, she is a fearful person, likely more so than an average one. But then, so am I. Whether it’s as trivial as my desire to have a piece of cake at 5 a.m. being overcome by the fear of how my stomach will treat me after I consume it, or as dire as my desire to be an actress being overcome by my relentless dread of public speaking, fear has this colossal and frustrating power to prevent me from being who I want to be or doing what I want to do. If I don’t work constantly to push past it, life will paralyze me – like it almost did to Andrea.
Andrea had a life full of fear and regret until the day she decided enough was enough and accepted a photography assignment that would take her to England for six months, alone, knowing she would face many of the things that scared her. And she welcomed that challenge. She knew that, had she declined that opportunity, she would have remained an insecure, dependent girl watching life and all of its benefits pass her by without so much as a wave. At one time, I was terrified to write a novel for fear of not being able to finish and of being judged harshly. Law school scared the daylights out of me for countless reasons. I’ve also been scared to try swing dancing, for fear I’d look silly or haphazardly kick someone in the face. And, as I said above, studying abroad was terrifying. I’ve tried all these things and though none is/was perfect, my life’s richer and I’m happier for having done them. Conversely, I have a strong desire to visit Israel but I’m too scared to go. So far, my fear has squashed my desire in that case and with each story I hear from friends who’ve been there, I grow more regretful and frustrated. But I rest assured, knowing (hoping?) that, just like Andrea, when I let desire be a greater force than fear I will at least give it a try.
Writing about why it was important for Andrea to push past her fears and creating the ways she could do so, was cathartic. As I wrote, I found myself quite persuasive in my anti-fear arguments and knew that they applied to me too (even more so, because I’m real). Trying something you’re scared of makes you stronger, wiser, worldlier; it opens doors; and it dismisses regret like the nasty parasite it is. Andrea had to be thrown into the deep end to see if she could swim; she was too far-gone to wade slowly (and, frankly, it’s funnier that way). The rest of us can take on our anxieties little by little if we so choose, being proud of the progress we’re making along the way. I certainly don’t mean to trivialize how paralyzing fear can be or affirm that I will get past everything that scares me; that’s unrealistic. But in my opinion, pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone can be so complicated and difficult, that all you need to be successful at it is to confront what scared you.
About The Author
Currently, both halves of her brain remain active while she continues to practice law and has begun what she hopes is a prosperous and rewarding life using the written word to enlighten and enliven. Megan lives in Southern California with her cat, Squeaker, and spends her time reading, socializing with her friends and family and playing drums for a local indie rock band.
AUTHOR WEBSITE (Coming Soon)
AUTHOR WEBSITE - Tales From My Hard Drive
Chaperones by Megan Karasch
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: June 13, 2013
Format: Paperback or eBook?
Genre: Chick Lit / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Chaperones
*Publication Date: June 13, 2013*
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by JKSCommunications.
Upon touching down in England, Andrea flops around like a fish out of water. The magazine’s staff – the idiot, the slut, and the mute – offer little comfort outside of a pint of beer until she’s assigned two blokes as travel companions – a tight-arsed copywriter and a drop-dead gorgeous art director with movie star charm. These two men help Andrea push herself beyond her comfort zone while testing the limits of her fortitude and her relationship with her boyfriend. The photographic journey becomes a comedy of errors thanks to unforeseen obstacles at every turn. As Andrea struggles to complete the assignment, she discovers the most revealing picture she develops will be of herself.
My Book Review:
Chaperones is an entertaining story of a woman's journey of self-discovery and growth during a six month photography assignment in England. Written in the first person narrative, twenty-six year old Andrea Lieberman has always lived a protective life that her parents have provided her, a life that has sheltered her from the risks and ups and downs that come naturally in life. Living with fears and regrets, Andrea decides to move out of her comfort zone and experience life when she takes a six month photography assignment in England. Andrea's adventure in England will take her out of her comfort zone, allow her to experience life beyond the protective walls that she grew up in, and along the way discover who she really is.
Chaperones is such a fun and lighthearted read that is filled with quirky characters and entertaining dialogue and interactions that will keep the reader in stitches. The reader follows Andrea as she embarks on her adventure in England away from her overbearing and overprotective parents and boyfriend Brandon. I really enjoyed watching Andrea discover the world outside the protective walls that she grew up in, from the quirky people that she meets, to the amusing trials and tribulations that she finds herself in, Andrea is able to navigate outside her comfort zone and overcome her obsessive fears and paranoia and discover who she is and what the world has to offer.
I loved the author's richly detailed description of the setting, the reader is easily transported to England with it's familiar landmarks, culture and dialect. You can't help but become captivated by Andrea's adventure in England, in a way it feels like the reader is experiencing Andrea's adventure right beside her. From start to finish, Chaperones is a fun read with entertaining twists and turns that keeps the reader engaged and cheering on Andrea as she learns about herself and the world around her.
RATING: 4 STARS ****