A complex novel with many levels

The Guest Room: A Novel - Chris Bohjalian

This is an amazing book.  Chris Bohjalian has such a knack for slipping his readers right into the lives and hearts of his characters.   With this book, he has not only created a chilling thriller but also a deep complex novel about family and trust.  But he doesn’t stop there.  He also opens your heart and mind to the horror of child sex trafficking in such an intimate way that is completely heart rending.

 

The shark comparison between the lives of the two young girls in this book makes for an engrossing read.  Both love ballet, both love Barbie dolls but one becomes a sex slave.  The contrast between their lives is achingly real.  During a bachelor party that horribly loses control, the father of the one girl has an unforgettable encounter with the young sex slave in the guest room of his home.  His resulting shame and concern for the girl will change the lives of all involved.

 

This may very well be my favorite read of 2015 as there are so many levels to this book.  The story at first look wouldn’t have been appealing to me.  I’ve never understood the need for bachelor parties.  A man makes a commitment to a woman but he has to have one last night of “freedom”.  The whole concept just boggles my mind.  Yes, a party with his friends to celebrate his marriage would be great (but isn’t that the marriage reception?) but a rowdy party with strippers?  If someone unknown to me had written this book and I had read the blurb, I doubt if I would have wanted to read it.  But luckily I’m familiar with the value of Chris Bohjalian’s work and knew it was one I had to read.  Most highly recommended.

 

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.