The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
Published January 5, 2016
My rating: 4.5 Stars
After seeing so many positive reviews of The Guest Room I just had to read it. This is the first book I’ve read by Chris Bohjalian.
The book opens to Richard Chapman speaking about how he had presumed there would be a stripper or two at his younger brother Philip’s bachelor party. It bothered him a little bit that it was in his home but he didn’t want to be a downer. He tells us that when he thinks about strippers he prefers to think of girls may be earning some extra money for college etc.
His wife Kristen agreed to let him host the party. Of course she was not going to attend said party but instead was taking their younger daughter, Kristen and her mother to a Broadway matinee. After that they would be staying over at her mothers for the weekend, not planning to return home until Sunday.
When the girls arrive along with Russian bodyguards, the men at the party are told that there should be no videos or pictures taken. They indicate that if these rules are broken, the cellphones as well as the offending fingers using the cellphone will be broken.
The men talk about how it will be a night to remember.
Oh it will definitely be memorable….
*** Possibly very minor spoilers ****
How did it all go wrong? Only the men at the party are able to give their version to police…. because the talent? The talent was gone. And the Russian bodyguards? Well they were dead.
This book was gripping to say the least. Some parts were very upsetting and hard to read but I could see how they were important to the story. Human trafficking is a very real issue and honestly some parts of the story made me so sad. Some parts also made me so angry. Angry that this is going on everywhere!
“There is a chance that the little eye candy you had dancing around your living room were not prostitutes. They were underage sex slaves. Big difference”
There may be times where the story seems a bit farfetched. However, while some of it is definitely feasible, it’s almost like a “true story” movie. Where dramatizations are added to the story to try and keep readers engaged. In the end though it is a book of fiction, so not everything will be probable or likely to happen that way in real life. Thank goodness many of the books I’ve read wouldn’t happen in real life! Of course a reader wants to be entertained and so writing a story, trying to make it exciting and entertaining without going too far overboard that people find it too unrealistic? I would bet that it’s often quite hard for writers to find that balance.
I thought that the story was well-written. I liked that there were multiple points of view and thought it added to the story. I especially thought the daughter Melissa’s point of view was interesting. Her view of all that was happening, her parents arguing, wondering what kind of trouble her daddy was in, and what she read on the internet was so confusing. “Alexandra’s” point of view was hardest to read, but essential to the story. I found it emotional and heartbreaking. I also thought that the character development was great. I hated Spencer and really disliked Philip. Poor little Philip, it was always someone else’s fault….I REALLY wanted to punch him in the face.
I was really invested in the story and the characters and had to see how it all ended. The fact that some of what went on in the story really does happen is absolutely heartbreaking. I think that the author told a really good story.
I will definitely be reading more from Chris Bohjalian.
The Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking. (CAST)
Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS)