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Review: The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

Title: The Guest Room
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Year Published: 2016

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 314
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)USA (CT, NY), Russia, and Armenia

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the back of the book): When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother's bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She takes 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 that the entertainment--two scared young women brought there by force--will kill their captors and drive off into the night.

With their house now a crime scene. Kristin and Richard's life spirals into a nightmare. Kristin in unable to forgive her husband for his lapses in judgment or for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But for the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, the danger is jut beginning.

Review: Human trafficking is such an important issue and that is what caught my eye about this book. I have also never read a book by Chris Bohjalian and have heard so much about him. And in his acknowledgements he thanks Stephen Kiernan who is the author of a book I read last week! I am such a geek; I love when authors thank other authors whose books I've read.

This book feels important. It's because it is tackling so many difficult subjects all at once: human trafficking; fidelity; friendship; trust; fear; and compassion. That's a lot. And it's done well. I like that we slowly learn Alexandra's history and story as she narrates every other chapter. While reading about how she was kidnapped, treated by her captors, and brought to the States as a sex slave is not easy reading, it is told well and slowly so that the reader really understands how her family was duped, how she really couldn't escape, and how she fears for her life once she "gets out."

And we also see the other side of the story: that of Richard, who attends the bachelor party that triggers the book, and his wife, Kristin, whose life is turned upside down after the party is over. We even see events from their daughter's perspective. Each of them reveals a little more about how we understand the situation, how we react to stress, and it made wonder how I would react. That is the mark of a good book.

Challenges for which this counts:

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