Monday, 16 November 2015

'D.C. Trip', by Sara Benincasa

Title: D.C. Trip
Author(s): Sara Benincasa
Release Date: 3rd November 2015
Publisher: Adaptive Books (Adaptive Studios)
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Publisher

Author and comedienne Sara Benincasa takes a bold, fearless and irreverent look at the classic high school trip to Washington DC.

Alicia Deats is a new teacher chaperoning her very first high school trip to Washington DC, and nothing could be more terrifying than a class full of horny, backstabbing, boundary-pushing teenagers under her watch. To make matters worse, she embarrassed herself with her co-chaperone Bryan Kenner with one too many margaritas and an ill-placed vomiting incident at last year’s teacher mixer and is hoping this trip can be a fresh start for them. Alicia believes in positive reinforcement and trust to keep her students out of trouble, but best friend high school sophomores Gertie, Sivan, and Rachel have a different idea: they plan to take full advantage of the un-parented freedom that a trip to DC offers. DC TRIP by novelist-comedian Sara Benincasa is an honest and irreverent journey of sexual confusion, bar shots, drag queens, and pot cookies in the Rose Garden.


When I first read the synopsis for this book I thought it would be a fun, entertaining road trip read. I hadn't read a contemporary in this setting for a good while and was quite looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, it did not own up to my expectations at all.

At the start of the book, there is an email sent from Alicia to another teacher from the high school wheres she works who is about to chaperone the sophomore trip for the very first time. The email states that they are both good friends, and that Alicia wants to tell her the story of her very own first chaperoning experience as a 'warning' of what to expect.

My biggest issue with the book was the choice of this format. The whole book is supposed to be the rest of the email. Who in their right mind would sit and read an almost 300 page email? Also, if they are friends, why couldn't they meet in person so Alicia could tell her the story herself? It would work pretty much the same if the first three pages with that email introduction were replaced with them meeting somewhere, but the whole plot would make a lot more sense.

Even after trying to go along with the concept, the way the rest of the book was written just didn't match up to me. After addressing her friend in the first person in the beginning, once Alicia starts her story she changes to a third person narrative, where she talks of herself as if she wasn't the narrator. Not only this but it is an omniscient third person, and she goes 'off-topic' several times into the lives of the students going on the trip, talking about things she would not normally know about them.

Overall, I think this book could have done with some more editing (especially in scenes with dialogue, as they just do not flow well) and polishing of the concept. Due to all this I did not finish the book, so I am not able to form a full opinion on the overall plot, but from what I read it seems like the author's attempt to be irreverent did not work well.

Give it a try if you are feeling brave, but do take into account these inconsistencies when deciding if you should pick it up.

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