- Written by: Chris Bohjalian
- Published by: Doubleday books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, January 5, 2016
- Length: 336 pages
- Source: Publisher sent me a copy of this book for review consideration. This in no way impacts my thoughts or recommendation.
Summary: When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother’s bachelor party, he expects a certain amount of debauchery. He sends his wife, Kristin, and young daughter off to his mother-in-law’s for the weekend, and he opens his Westchester home to his brother’s friends and their hired entertainment. What he does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom, and two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Richard’s life rapidly spirals into a nightmare. The police throw him out of his home, now a crime scene; his investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and his wife finds herself unable to forgive him 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.
My Thoughts: Only Chris Bohjalian would dream to write a story about a bachelor party gone wrong and tie in a human rights issue like sex slavery. I am in awe of his gift for storytelling. While reading this story I was amazed at the empathy I felt for Richard Chapman, a man honestly caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. A good man caught up in the nastiest of events. Not just a murder in his home, but sexual debauchery that turns out to be the result of young women being kidnapped and held against their will, thrown into a bizarre world of forced sex and threats to perform. Alexandra is a young woman who was just a girl when she was told she was going to continue her study of ballet, and she was instead kidnapped, held naked in a hotel room with no way to escape. Her journey was ugly, and full of false promises. The plight of young girls all over the world being taken for sex slavery is real.
This book moved quickly for me, I was eager to learn the outcome. I certainly understood the emotions of Richard’s wife Kristin, I can’t imagine how I would react if it had been my husband. Trust gets thrown out the window when we feel so shocked. The character of their daughter was well fleshed out as well, what does a young girl understand? How will she decode the silence between her parents?
Once again, The Guest Room is an excellent book, but life lessons and feelings that will stay with me for a while. I loved how the characters developed and reacted. I loved the small details and the way the book’s title forces me to recall all the tiny minutiae of the lives we live. How we think we see it all, but just like Richard how things can come to haunt us. Thank you Doubleday for the book and than you once again Mr. Bohjalian for keeping me glued to your words.