Once Upon A Book Club: The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (3 out of 5)

This was my last pick for The Literature Bandits in July. By this time, I was pretty sure that I was on my way up to the new gig. BR was so good to me for many years, but all good things have to come to an end. This was about a month after losing my dad, and half of the Bandits were on vacation. I do keep in touch with most of them… Saying goodbye to that little book club was as hard as saying goodbye to BR was. It figures that I finally have a dedicated group of ladies coming out every month and then I’m off to the wild blue yonder of VH.

Anyway, I had this friendly argument with people in the last month about “The Mars Room” vs “The Flamethrowers”. Personally, I loved The Flamethrowers more. More passion, more intellect, less disappointment. The Mars Room didn’t pick up until halfway through, and the end completely pissed me off. Care about the characters and that end? Fucking ridiculous. Kushner is one talented lady, but this book was torturous to get through. At least the first half.

Romy is serving two consecutive life sentences, while life in San Francisco goes on outside the prison walls. Kushner invokes the heartstrings of the reader by bringing Romy’s young son Jackson into the story. Romy is desperate to try to connect with her son, especially when she hears that things are not going according to plan. Tie that in with the life behind prison walls, from relationships to death to friendships, humor, and the absurdities of life behind bars. Kushner nails it, no doubt, but just as the reader is really behind Romy’s third eye, she rips the rug out from under the reader, and leaves you yelling at the book. I threw the damn thing out- I remain pissed at that ending. So…if you want a controversial book club pick that will invoke some discussions, this is a good pick.

~ by generationgbooks on December 5, 2019.

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