|The Guest Room
"Richard Chapman presumed there would be a stripper at his brother Phillip's bachelor party."
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.
The premise behind this book is a little disturbing. A private bachelor party gone bad. I’m guessing all men try and tell themselves that the “entertainment” for a bachelor party will be “some girl from Sarah Lawrence or Fordham or NYU with a silly, mellifluous made-up name making a little money for tuition”. It makes them feel better. I wonder how many of these parties actually hire unknown sex slaves, something might seem a little off to them but nobody will stand up and say anything to protest it.
I have some personal experience with it. I was hired to be a bartender for a bachelor party a few years ago (no names given) and I really shouldn’t be telling this story… but I think it’s important. The girls hired for the party looked like they were definitely “ON” something, which didn’t seem so “sexy”. On top of that, this was hosted at a “hall” and was more private than a normal strip club visit… so the girls did a show… a little more than stripping. After interacting with one another, I believe there was a little action on the side going on but I can’t be certain (it seemed like it to me but more hush, hush). I don’t know if these girls were slaves? Maybe? I didn’t think about it at the time but after reading this book, It would definitely cross my mind today.
The party felt wrong in my gut and after speaking to a few of my guy friends from the party, I wasn’t alone in that feeling. Everyone has that friend who will pressure the others to the “dark” side… so why does society put the pressure to step over the line like this? I love that Bohjalian wrote a book that brings such a common practice into light. This is a story of a typical bachelor party and the guys could be anyone you know… imagine, your friendly middle class neighbor might be attending a sex slave party this weekend! Put it that way and people might do a double take.
Another great part of this book was seeing things from the perspective of the girl. It was terribly heartbreaking to follow her life, watching her fall into the wrong hands. I’m still disgusted that this is a practice that completely gets ignored in the media, we don’t hear enough about these terrible circumstances. I’d much rather have my man going to the strip club for a bachelor's party than a private party, especially now knowing what I know.
P.S. - NetGalley & Doubleday graciously gave me an advanced copy to read and review, thank you!
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