Posts Tagged ‘uncomfortable’


April 18, 2012

Author: Emma Donoghue

Title: Room

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Publication Date: September 2010

Number of Pages: 321

Geographical Setting: Presumably Canada

Time Period: Present

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Five-year-old narrator Jack has spent his entire life in a garden shed turned prison with his Ma. His narrations reveal to the reader that his mother has been held captive by a sociopath known only as Old Nick by Jack. Additionally, Ma made the decision to spare Jack the heartbreak of truly understanding their situation by telling him the Room is essentially the universe and that everything he sees on their television is fiction. The haunting, disturbing novel is irresistible from the start, spurred along by the fast-pace of a child’s narration and the incredible sense of psychological suspense Donoghue creates. About half the book takes place in the Room, until Jack and Ma finally make a daring escape. Rather than ending the story there, Donoghue explores their painful and shocking reintroduction to the outside world. This character-centered novel explores the harrowing but ultimately hopeful experience of Jack and his mother.

Subject Headings: Antisocial personality disorders, Kidnapping, Boys, Mother and child, Women kidnap victims, Compulsive behavior in men

Appeal: fast-paced, suspenseful, engaging, harrowing, disturbing, unsettling, uncomfortable, character-centered, realistic, haunting, refreshing, resolved ending

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: disturbing, compelling, suspenseful

Secrets in the cellar, by John Glatt

Donoghue was inspired to write Room after learning the terrible story of a 73-year-old man found guilty of assaulting and imprisoning his daughter for 24 years, fathering several children with her over the period of time she was trapped in a secret bunker he designed. Harrowing and deeply disturbing, Glatt’s book is the true story of the Fritzl case.

A stolen life: a memoir, by Jaycee Dugard

Readers who are interested in true stories of kidnapping and captivity that also contain an ultimately hopeful tone might like Dugard’s disturbing memoir of being kidnapped at age 11. The gritty, candid story is about Dugard’s imprisonment by a sex offender and her eventually escape after being forced to give birth to two of his children.

Tears of rage: from grieving father to crusader for justice : the untold story of the Adam Walsh case, by John Walsh.

Readers may be interested in learning about the legal side of a tragic ordeal after reading the Room. Walsh’s painful account of the cold legal system that could have done more to save his son will resonate with readers.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The irresistible Henry House, by Lisa Grunwald

Readers who are eager to learn how Jack continues to develop may enjoy Grunwald’s historical fiction about a man raised as a practice baby for home economics courses. Henry House feels betrayed by lies about his origins, yet remains emotionally stunted by his unusual upbringing. The book is compelling and thought-provoking.

Me & Emma, by Elizabeth Flock

Another disturbing tale of abuse and family drama, Flock’s book features an eight-year-old protagonist who details her family’s abuse at the hands of her alcoholic stepfather. More methodically paced, the book is more of a thriller with a startling, violent ending that might appeal to readers who enjoyed Room but felt the book glossed over gritty details of Jack’s captivity and subsequent adjustment to the outside world.

Still Missing, by Chevy Stevens

Readers who are interested in learning more about Ma’s ordeal may enjoy Still Missing, a novel exploring the trauma experienced by a woman who is kidnapped and abused at the hands of a sociopathic captor. The book is more gritty and reflective then Room, but also examines the reintroduction of a kidnapping victim into society.

The Heroin Diaries

November 16, 2011

nullAuthor: Nikki Sixx

Title:  The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star

Genre: Arts and Entertainment; Autobiographies (Adult literature); Biography; Memoirs; True Crime

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 413

Geographical Setting: California

Time Period: Early 1980’s – Present

Plot Summary:  When Mötley Crüe was at the height of its fame, there wasn’t any drug Nikki Sixx wouldn’t do. He spent days, sometimes alone, sometimes with other addicts, friends, and lovers, in a coke and heroin-fueled daze. The highs were high, and Nikki’s journal entries reveal some euphoria and joy. But the lows were lower, often ending with Nikki in his closet, surrounded by drug paraphernalia and wrapped in paranoid delusions.  Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx shares mesmerizing diary entries from the year he spiraled out of control in a haze of heroin and cocaine, presented alongside riveting commentary from people who were there at the time, and from Nikki himself.

Subject Headings: Sixx, Nikki, 1958-, Motley Crue, Rock musicians — United States – Biography, Drug addicts – Biography, Heroin addicts, Rock music, Drug addiction, heroin addiction

Appeal: Reflective, Candid, relaxed, bittersweet, uncomfortable, edgy, gritty, humorous, introspective, moody, paranoid, sobering, eccentric, insightful, realistic, character-centered, conversational

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Reflective, Candid, humorous

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Everyone loves you when you’re dead: journeys into fame and madness by Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss considers it his job to hang around celebrities, rock gods, porn queens, up-and-coming starlets, and iconic superstars long enough, whether it takes moments or months, to find that minute, the one when the curtain finally falls away and the real person is revealed.  This collection of stories about those moments would be good for any fan of candid memoirs like The Heroin Diaries

Tommyland by Tommy Lee

Co-written with Anthony Bozza, Tommyland is a quick, enjoyable romp through the life of rocker Tommy Lee that sucks you in from the first page.  Anyone interested in the wild times of Motley Crue from a different perspective should pick this up.

The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Neil Strauss

This is the life of Mötley Crüe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend.  The full story of Motley Crue from their beginnings to present day, a must have for rock biography fans.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she’s determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.  The 2nd in a series, a gripping look at one person’s struggle with heroin, a good series for fans of heroin diaries.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

This groundbreaking classic is more compelling than ever for today’s readers. A sensation when it was first published and a perennial bestseller ever since, this real-life diary charts an anonymous teenage girl’s struggle with the seductive, and often fatal, world of drugs.   Another diary style book about the struggles with drugs and what a person goes through to shake the demons.

A hero ain’t nothin’ but a sandwich by Alice Childress

Dope. Smack. Junk. Heroin. No matter what you call it, you can’t change the fact that 13-year-old Benjie is on it. Oh no … he’s not hooked, though. He could stop anytime … really. But why is a young kid like Benjie using at all? A riveting novel about drug abuse, fans of The Heroin Diaries will enjoy this.

Name: Jason Rock


June 16, 2010

Author: Alice Sebold

Title: Lucky

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication Date: 1999

Number of Pages: 246

Geographical Setting: Syracuse, New York

Time Period: 1981

Series: Not Applicable

Plot Summary: A memoir by author, Alice Sebold, that chronicles the violent rape and subsequent trial she experienced as a college freshmen in Syracuse, New York. An honest, detailed account of how the violent crime affected Sebold’s life and relationships with her family, friends, and community. After most other students at her small university learn of her attack, Sebold struggles to keep friendships and relate to others. Tragically, her closest confidant ends their friendship after randomly experiencing a similar crime. Although Sebold successfully identifies and testifies against her attacker, she reveals that the brutal crime had lasting negative effects on her life for years following the trial. Candidly written, some readers may struggle with the details of the attack and trial.

Subject Headings: Sebold, Alice; Rape victims – United States – Case studies; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Trials (Rape) – United States – Case Studies; Drug addicts; Drug addiction; Post-traumatic stress disorder in patients; Coping in women; Heroin addiction; Heroin addicts

Appeal: Deliberate, unhurried, uncomfortable, dark, closely observed, well-drawn characters, character-centered, tragic, accurate, detailed setting, candid, and descriptive

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: Unhurried, tragic, and candid

Similar Authors and Works:


  • Passing for Normal: A Memoir of Compulsion by Amy S. Wilensky: An honest, candid memoir of a woman coping with mental illness and her family’s reactions
  • The Disappearance by Genevieve Jurgensen: An eloquently written memoir by a woman struggling with the tragic deaths of her two young daughters
  • Giving Up a Ghost: A Memoir by Hilary Mantel: An author’s descriptive memoir that uses humor and satire to tell her tragic story


  • The Devil’s Backbone by Kim Wozencraft: Similar storyline involving post-traumatic stress disorder; candid, honest writing style
  • Dear Zoe: A Novel by Philip Beard: Honest emotions; well-drawn characters; dealing with a family tragedy
  • The Sea by John Banville: A beautifully written story of a man coping with loss; a descriptive story with well-drawn characters

Name: Rebecca Dorsey

Remember Me?

June 14, 2010

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Title: Remember Me?

Genre: Women’s Lives and Relationships, Fiction,

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 448

Geographical Setting: London, England

Time Period: Present day

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

An underling in a carpet company, a boyfriend called Loser Dave, and nicknamed, by her friends, Snaggletooth or sometimes Snagglehair, Lexi Smart is a 25 year old Londoner out for drinks with her girlfriends on the eve of her father’s funeral when she falls down the stairs trying to get a taxi in the rain.  Lexi comes to in a hospital and everything has changed.  She’s in the hospital due to a car accident in her Mercedes.  She is 28.  Her teeth and hair are straight.  She’s toned.  She now runs her department at the carpet company and Lexi is married to a handsome real estate multimillionaire.  Maybe she lost 3 years, but her life seems perfect – just, how did it all happen? And why does no one seem to know the real her?  As Lexi explores her new life and personality she uncovers her lies and deception, including her lover Jon, a colleague of her husband’s, who seems to know the real Lexi.

Subject Headings: Amnesia, Identity, Identity Make-over, Men/Women Relationships, Marriage, Extramarital affairs, Family, Memories,

Appeal: engrossing, uncomfortable, foreboding, detailed, urban, vivid, flashbacks, resolved ending, colorful, informal, witty, entertaining,

3 terms that best describe this book: humorous, quirky, and character-oriented

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?)


The Woman Who Pretended to be Who She Was: Myths of Self-Imitation by Wendy Doniger – A book about female identity confusion and how woman imitate themselves through examination of areas such as folktales, movies, mythology, and literature.  A clearly written book about the way women play with identity.

Past Forgetting: My Memory Lost and Found by Jill Robinson – A memoir of a woman’s amnesia.  In 1992, Robinson, a writer, wakes up in a hospital after a seizure and has lost the past 10 years.  Her husband is a stranger and her children are grown.  This autobiography recounts how the author tries to recover her memories and relearn herself.

In Search of Memory: An Emergence of the New Science of Mind by Eric R. Kandel – A book about the science of memory.  Awarded the Nobel Prize for his research, author Kandel, through examination of science and his own memories of his childhood shows how memory is encoded in the circuitry of the brain.

Fiction Works:

Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes – The story of Anna, who was in a car accident in New York City and returns to her family in Dublin to recuperate.  In a daze, Anna cannot locate her husband and can’t remember what happened.  A foreboding book with flashbacks to Anna’s life in New York, this is an engrossing and character-oriented novel of an amnesiac.

Open House by Elizabeth Berg – After her husband of twenty years leaves, Samantha reinvents herself and becomes an independent woman and mother capable of paying her mortgage and being happy.  A humorous and character-oriented story, this is an uplifting and entertaining novel.

Forget About It by Caprice Crane – A young woman in her mid-twenties, unhappy with her mediocre life, job, and boyfriend, is hit by a car while riding her bike.  As Jordan comes to in the hospital she decides to fake amnesia in hopes to reinvent herself and begin a new life.  A quirky and humorous book, this entertaining novel is a light read with memorable secondary characters.

Name: Summer