Someone wrote me a comment about NaNoWriMo tips, so, of course, I had to check out his blog. From there, he had written a post that had a few comments. I liked the commentators (Darla and Rich), clicking on their blogs as well.
I found a blog with some book descriptions that sounded interesting; I decided to try Room 317 first. He had even joked that he doesn’t promote himself. With his writing ability, the author should definitely market his books, so I’ll help him out hee hee.
Room 317 by R.M. Voza is the thirteenth book of my reading challenge. Here’s my thoughts:
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere is Room 317. That’s where everything ends.
Five people will walk in. One will walk out. One will limp out. One will be thrown out. Two will be carried out. The five of them come from many places. California, New Jersey, and a few places between. What brings them there is all very different. What gets them out is pretty much the same. There will be bullets, broken glass, and blood. All of them will be changed. Not all of them will see tomorrow.
John Page has always tried to do the right thing, but others have taken advantage of his good nature and placed him on the wrong side of the gavel. Losing his job and family and being publicly smeared are more than he can handle. After selling everything worth a buck and stuffing anything needed in a backpack, John steps on a westward bus without certainty of where he is going other than to be far away from anyone who knows him. He has one plan: to selfishly forget his past and never lift a finger to help anyone but himself.
En route to nowhere, John meets several interesting people. Melissa is a single mother heading from Philadelphia to Southern California with her 7-year old daughter Charlotte. Unfortunately, one of them won’t make it home.
There’s a young couple whom John nicknames “Hoody and Bunny.” They constantly look over their shoulders and while protecting a small package Hoody seems to have a tight grip on something in his pocket, while Bunny has eyes that plead for help.
At each step across the country, John learns a little more about Hoody and Bunny, but none of what he learns is good. He also learns a little more about Melissa and Charlotte, but it’s a painful reminder of the child he left behind.
All of them have very different pasts that have brought them traveling in the same direction. All of them, and others, will eventually meet in Room 317 of a dark motel in the middle of nowhere. The police will be there, but they will not be of much help. Sometimes we create our own problems. Sometimes we are the only ones who can solve them.
Room 317 is a place where everyone’s mistakes collide, everyone’s history will become the present, and everyone’s life will be on the balance. Not everyone will live. Not everyone will want to.
Richard Voza draws several lines in the dirt, dramatically brings them all together, ties them in a knot of tension, and cuts most of them lose.
This 17 chapter book was so depressing, and I loved every second of it. Poor John–through his flashbacks, I could understand why he gave up all hope. He couldn’t catch a break! The story was very intense, raw, and edgy. Think Degrassi’s theme: It goes there.
- I enjoyed the set-up that the story takes place on a bus; its the perfect place to let your mind wander about your past, present, and future. Plus, it reminded me of all the times I rode the Greyhound to Morgantown from Hagerstown. The longest bus ride I took was eight hours to Cleveland. Anyway, back to John’s dilemma. Nicole–a spoiled brat (total understatement)–ruined his and Jessica’s life just because she wanted to be valedictorian. The women he fell in love with dumped him for her abusive husband, and his crazy ex-wife was pathetic. She set John up, so he can never visit his kids again. It was trifling after trifling after trifling events revealed of his past, and it all tied nicely together, especially the reason John left his teaching position.
The suspense grabbed my attention from beginning to end. I was suspicious that the older couple on the bus knew something about John. A blue Cadillac always followed the bus, and I knew automatically that Bunny and Hoody were shady. Something bad would happen; it was just a matter of when. I sat on the edge of my seat the entire time.
I loved John’s interaction with the child Charlotte and her mother Melissa. It was a nice surprise to get a sort of love story out of the suspense, drama element. It was so cute the way their friendship developed, especially the beginning stages. My favorite moment was when he had written something about her in his notebook (he had a Book of Observations–so awesome), and she happened to come across the page and wrote something for him. So sweet.
- I also liked the bar scene. John got along with the waitress and Erin, who sat beside him mistaking John for Jim. Talk about awkward lol. He had such a depressing life; he deserved some moments of happiness, even if only for a few minutes.
I have several favorite lines that it’s not even funny. “Same shit, different state.” I’d totally buy that bumper sticker.
- “Connections lead to disconnections. Disconnections lead to pain.” It broke my heart the reason John wanted to keep distance from others.
- “…longer it would take for her to look at him, the more he was certain that she had a new awareness of something.” I absolutely enjoyed the tension in that scene–John wanted to know why Melissa was avoiding him, and he wanted to know right now.
The author has an amazing talent of being very descriptive and using beautiful imagery. I got lost in the story to the point that I was worried about the characters safety and really hoped for a happy ending for John. R.M. Voza was great with the drama elements that I cried at three different sections of the novel. Something I’m not even embarrassed to admit. I’m not talking about shedding a tear and taking a moment to reflect what I had just read. I’m talking about body shaking, throat sore, hard to swallow because of knot, having to grab tissue because of watery eyes and runny nose.
The story ended perfectly and Melissa’s actions throughout the trip made sense once everything came together. Too bad she got kidnapped. Want to know what happened, read the book. Room 317 was a fast read; I didn’t take a break once from my Kindle.
I RECOMMEND this book to read.