The Book List #14 | The Mars Room

// T H E  B O O K  L I S T #14 | T H E  M A R S  R O O M \\

Here we are again, back with another book review blog post - I'm starting to think I could begin to call myself a book blogger? (HAHA I think I'll leave that title on the back burner for now) But for today, I have a few words to say about The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. A book I've seen endless praise for in ELLE, Vogue to name a few, you name the magazine, chances are their book section features this book. It's set in a women's prison in the US and follows Romy Hall. A woman doing life (plus 6 years) and follows the highs and lows of prison life. It's not for the faint hearted but boy does it open your eyes to the hard life served inside for life.

It's set in 2003, and from the onset we're introduced to Romy, on the way into prison. Sat alongside other inmates, as she begins to come to the realisation that her prison life is about to begin and we begin to learn of her rather tragic life. From growing up in San Fransisco, to her now left behind 5 year old son Jackson and her work in The Mars Room - a incredibly seedy strip club (or whatever you tend call those types of places) The book flips from character to character, from the teacher of Stanville prison, Gordon to customers of The Mars Room. We learn of problems of characters inside the prison with some who become 'friends' of Romy's to characters you'd rather never meet in life. It's an Orange is the New Black type book, but with a lot less humour and more eye opening reality. 

On the whole, I would say I rather did enjoy this book. It's written so incredibly well, with an obviously large amount of research done to create very detailed real scenarios. What I will say is, that the book is very jumpy, its strides from one character to another and for a while, whilst you're getting into the book, it can get a little confusing. I'd say its one of those books where there isn't a very clear beginning, middle and end, it's rather a continuous insight into Romy's story as well as some 'prison celebrities' on death row amoungst some others, with a little drama towards the end. It's a very tragic story, very American really as the scenarios are very different to life is in Britain in comparison, but its a believable story. I would highly recommend this book, although as I said, it's not for the faint hearted, it's a real eye opener into life in both America and the prison system. I, of course, am not sure whether this is actually how life is like inside. Some may have read and thought 'well thats bullshit' - who knows, but the author has done a great job of creating a very real story of Romy and characters alike. 

The blurb describes the book as 'A heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America' and I think that may just have hit the nail on the head - this ain't no lovey dovey novel, it's some very gripping stuff.


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