Do you know what is a delightful and quick book? Room 46 by Helen McKenna. This story follows young Grace as she volunteers at Rosehill Nursing Home. There she reads short stories to resident Edith and along the way, Grace learns that things are not always what they seem at first glance. Parts of it touched me personally, and I feel like many people can relate to aspects of the book.
There were many characters in the book, but the focus was on Grace and Edith. I related to Grace a lot. This could be because of excellent writing or my own experiences makes me think the writing is excellent. Her backstory was a little disappointing though, but I liked her overall. Edith, on the other hand, remains a mystery for most of the book. This works if you think of her as a character representing an idea instead of just a character. If the book were any longer, this might become annoying, but from what I read, it worked perfectly. A few other characters were included, which felt a little awkward. They should have been used more to justify their existance. I still found the characters relatable and I’m sure you will connect to at least one of them.
Not a lot happens in this book. You can basically sum it up by, ‘a girl reads short stories to a woman in a nursing home as she tries to sort her life out’. It is one of those stories that explores people’s lives and how one individual can make a difference. Don’t read this story if you’re a plot oriented person as you would be very disappointed. However, if you like character oriented stories and having your asumptions be proven wrong, give the book a go.
The focus of the short stories is that things are not always as they seem, and this obviously comes across in the actual plot. For me, there are three main plot twists that have encouraged different responses. One was predictable, one was an actual shock that made me feel stupid for not realising it earlier, and the final one annoyed me. Having this range of responses was suprisingly enjoyable for me. It made the book feel fresh and my emotions constantly changed. There are a few more ‘plot twists’ that feel like they are only there to emphasise a point or to fill out space. They either should have been developed more so that I cared about the outcome or exluded. It did slow down the pace, however, as it was distracting to the main story.
The writing itself was decent. It wasn’t overly flowery, but there were a few touching scenes. One section even got a tear out of me, but that is because it resonates with some of my personal fears. If you don’t relate to any aspects of the book, I can see it coming off as a bit bland. Basically, it is not the most mesmorising book in the world, but it presents the characters and situations well. Basically, it’s not the worst story in the world.
This is not a book that will change the world, but it is one that can make you stop and concider different facets of life. Even though I did not like the ending, I feel like it was one other people would need. I will give it 7/10.
Question: when was the last time you read about a character that you relate to?