the next good book

The Mars Room

By Rachel Kushner


336 pages

What’s it about? Romy Hall is serving two consecutive life sentences in Stanville women’s Correctional Facility for murder.  Before being locked up Romy was a stripper at The Mars Room.  A seedy strip club in San Francisco“If you’d showered you had a competitive edge at the Mars Room. If your tattoos weren’t misspelled you were hot property. If you weren’t five or six months pregnant, you were the it-girl in the club that night.”  Romy (and many of the characters in this novel) never stand a chance at leading healthy, productive lives.  This is their story.
What did it make me think about? The last novel I read by Rachel Kushner was “The Flamethrowers” and it was so much work to get through that book.  This novel is just flat out depressing- but really quick and easy to read.  Rachel Kushner is an incredibly talented writer but this novel often felt like she was force feeding you her viewpoints.
Should I read it? This novel has issues- but it is still worth reading.  The author certainly did her homework on women’s prisons and it was enlightening and disturbing.  It gives you a certain viewpoint about our justice system, our prison system,  and how hopeless some women feel.  My biggest complaint was that the main character of Romy seemed like a cardboard cutout.  Some people never have a chance…..
Quote- You would have been safe and dry and asleep, at home with your mother and your father who cared about you and had rules, curfews, expectations. Everything for you would have been different but if you were me, you would have done what I did. You would have gone, hopeful and stupid.”

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