Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
(This is NOT YA, like Lauren Oliver's other books)
Shortly after Richard Walker passed away, his ex-wife and children arrive at his country house to cleean it out, get their inheritance and to attend to his funeral. At one time, they all lived there together, but that was a long time ago, and a lot has happened since then. Caroline is the ex-wife, and she is a neurotic alcoholic. Her children are Trenton and Minna. Trenton is an awkward sixteen-year-old boy with few friends. He recently survived a terrible car accident, but he wishes he had just died when he had the chance. Minna is a bitter single mother who tries to make herself feel better by bedding random men. Also in the house are two ghosts, Alice and Sandra. They used to live in there at different times, but now they have become a part of the house. They have been observers of everything that has happened since their deaths. They have become accustomed to each others presence, even if they don't always get along. They are used to the way things have always been, but when a new ghost arrives and Trenton is able to comminicate with it and with them, everything changes. They are all haunted by something or someone, and room by room, painful and sometimes heartbreaking secrets will be exposed.
Rooms is a ghost story that is more story than ghost, which is fine, but not quite what I was expecting. It was an intriguing concept, having the stories of ghosts inhabiting a house weave with the dysfunctional drama of a family dealing with the loss of an estranged loved one, told room by room of the house. It held up well enough, but it wasn't as impactful as Lauren Oliver's other books. This is definitely more literary fiction. There are ghosts, but it's more character driven, and the characters aren't all that likable. That's nothing new for Oliver, but in previous books, the unlikable characters go through a change that endears them to readers. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is my favorite book, and the main character is a horrible person, but I grew to understand her and she grew to understand herself. I didn't like her, but my heart broke for her. My feelings were pretty much unstirred by Rooms and it's characters. They were ugly inside and out. There were moments of beautiful brilliance in her writing, but in an instant they were forgotten because at times there were also some strange and occasionally vulgar descriptions. Women's chests were subjected to some particularly odd language. They were compared to some weird things...mosquito bites (ok, I've heard that), flower blossoms (ok..), envelope flaps (wait, what?!?). I was invested enough to want to know how the story unfolded, but I wasn't wowed. I wouldn't recommend this to teen fans of Lauren Oliver. It is an adult book and there are some adult situations, but that's not the reason I'd say hold off to teens. I just don't know that they'd find it very interesting. Adult fans of literary fiction will get more out of it. I am an adult myself, but I prefer her YA books.