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What a great discussion we had last month. We read Megan Goldin’s The Escape Room, a debut novel by the Australian author that was inspired by a really bad job interview she had where the interviewer crunched on peanuts every time she spoke (much like the book).

In the book, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are invited to participate in an escape room as a team-building exercise. They crowd into the elevator of a high rise building, eager to prove themselves. But when the lights go out, the doors stay shut, and it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary competition: they're caught in a dangerous game of survival.

Overall the book got some high marks. We saw two 8.5s, eleven 8s, three 7.5s, two 7s, and one 6.5. Even those who were a bit disappointed gave it a pretty high score. Specifically, Jeff felt the title promised an actual escape room and since this was really just an elevator of death, he was let down. But between you and me, I don't think he's gotten over the fact that Pieces of Her promised, and did NOT deliver, dismemberment of any kind.

Now to the good, the bad, and the ugly…..

The good: many of us thought it was a good first book by an author; we thought it was quick and not fluffy; we really liked it even if it was a smidge unbelievable; we loved it from the beginning; it was readable, gripping, and we loved the revenge part; the pacing was good; and--what I think is one of the best compliments you can give an author—many of us didn’t figure out that Sarah was running the show. Kim, Heather, and I also liked the audio version. It was read by a man for the elevator and a woman for the flashbacks.

The bad: it dragged on a little; the Aussie author needed a proof reader to de-Aussify the writing a bit; the author had a clunky writing style but the plot moved along.

The ugly: some people really wanted to like Vincent but he just didn’t make it easy.

Having worked in finance, Jay deemed it an extreme version of reality. Jeff also thought the description of the corporate world was accurate.

We read to learn, and we did learn a couple of things from this book:

  1. Never piss off the IT department
  2. If you fire someone, you might just want to save yourself the trouble and write the recommendation letter

The best quote from a review of the book was found by Amy, and it read: “Ultimately it was like watching a movie starring The Rock. It’s not that good, but you still like it.”

On that note, our next meeting is March 23 and we will be discussing The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Amy is bring the snack and I am leading the meeting.

P.S. The actual escape room field trip went well, 13 of us entered the creepy cellar and were trapped by a serial killer. All of us got out after guessing the killer’s next victim and the day the murder was planned. It was a fun afternoon, and a bonding exercise that did NOT involve an elevator of death, so a win. Next field trip is a movie at Jay’s. Stay tuned for time and date.

Kerry

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