Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Julie's Review: The Guest Room

Author: Chris Bohjalian
Series: None
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 455
Obtained: Amazon Vine
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.75/5.0
Bottom Line: Captivating and disturbing subject matter
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother’s bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard’s life rapidly spirals into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, now a crime scene, Richard’s investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave, and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.  

Review: The Guest Room is a riveting and disturbing look at how something as normal as a bachelor party can turn badly so quickly. I can't even get into the debauchery that is Philip's bachelor party without giving it all away but you will want to slap the crap out of the men at this party. The aftermath of the party is told from Richard and Alexandra's point of view, which makes the story all that more intriguing.

Richard is a bit out of his depth in dealing with the fact that his actions have consequences that he can't even say, especially since his day job is M&A manager at an investment firm. He feels that things are way out of his control and isn't quite sure how to handle the situation. Not only that but he can't possibly understand what the ramifications on his marriage and young daughter will be.

Kristin isn't sure what to think or what to believe. She desperately wants to believe her husband but when she comes home and see what a shambles their house is in, she wonders if their marriage is in the same state. We get a glimpse into how her and Melissa, their daughter, are processing the outcome of the party at times, which is just enough to understand their anger, confusion, hurt and ultimately forgiveness.

The real focus is on Alexandra and her backstory, heck her story are fascinating and depressing at the same time. How she came to be at Richard's house will break your heart and you will root for her to gain her freedom. She knows loss and heartache but she doesn't know yet what it's like to live your own life, to have choices and you very much want her to have those things.

There are times when The Guest Room is hard to read. The social issue that Mr. Bohjalian highlights here is one that doesn't get a lot of airplay on the news but is definitely deserving of attention. What I love about Mr. Bohjalian's books is that no matter what the subject matter is, he pulls you in immediately. It never takes me 50 pages to get into one of his novels.

The Guest Room is a riveting novel that makes you think and give pause to something that isn't in the news daily. It is rich with well-written characters and an ending that stuns.



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