The Crying Room by Australian author Gretchen Shirm is a powerful emotionally moving story of family drama, hope and life.
Enter the Rodgers family as we burrow into the lives of four women: Bernie Rodgers, her daughters, Susie and Allison, and Allison’s daughter, Monica. Different lives, different age groups, and different personalities weaving their way through life.
Bernie and her husband David moved from Sydney to a small coastal town, Ballina. For at least ten years Bernie had occupied the thought of leaving him but now she sees it as the thing that keeps them together grafted as one.
With money left over from selling their house, David bought into a partnership with a small legal practice on the main street. Bernie’s days were free, but her thoughts consumed them, feeling distance from her daughters and the looming allegation against David.
Susie works at The Crying Room located near Kings Cross Station, Sydney. The room runs mostly by donations and Government grants, open to all levels of society that need a safe space. After working at The Crying Room Susie’s own feelings and sadness changed within herself which was quite different from when she cried in the interview.
Allison is straightforward and driven in life, one would think she had lofty standards, which is the reason her daughter Monica lied to her parents when she moved to Melbourne. She was studying for a degree in creative writing and being so far away they’d never find out. Monica cared deeply and loved writing; she only wished Allison would feel the same about her. Why is it so hard to have a problem with love?
The plot is engaging and paced with great skill, moving between characters’ individual stories to expertly keep the reader always engaged. At first, it was difficult to see where each chapter would fit as there is such disconnection but overall, the book came together and fitted into one whole story.
The narrative is excellent, it features powerfully descriptive and emotionally insightful passages. The themes are intelligently woven into the story and there is a striking balance when it comes to character, setting, and plot. This is an absorbing story that entertains and informs readers, inviting them to walk the path of love, compassion, and patience
Shirm is an author that knows how to create compelling characters, with real problems and real-life situations to solve them. You come to understand their feelings and dreams and it embraces the finest of human values.
I found this book about all the essential elements that make up a family, touching on both the good and the terrible things that go on. I cried, I laughed, I smiled, I could not put this book down. It is a true to life fictional story of any family and the obstacles they face. Anyone who reads this may be able to identify with parts of the story, this is not just a novel; it is a real-life lesson and a gift that many would benefit from reading.
I loved the cover of the book; it is visually attractive with a nice shimmer to the print when in light. I love designs you find an emotional connection with.
I highly recommend The Crying Room to those that love literary fiction, you will not be disappointed.
Before you go, check out our interview with the author, Gretchen Shirm.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Crying Room by Gretchen Shirm. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
My love of books started at a very young age. My mum has always been a reader and encouraged me to read, buying me endless book from classic fairy tales advancing to the world of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Kathryn Kenny, Carolyn Keene, Francine Pascal. In my adult years the list of authors is endless and every room in my house is filled with books.
One of my favourite novels is Narnia which has always has a special place in my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1978 and when I was given this book to read it let me escape to another world where I felt like I was in the book with all the characters, it wasfun and exciting to escape from reality and eased the ups and downs of the disease at such a young age.
In books nothing is impossible and there is endless potential and hundreds of places to explore or being taken to places that are only made up from the authors’ great minds, the past and future to navigate, characters lives you step into taking you on an emotional rollercoaster ride or being scared out of your wits. I can experience things that I can’t in real life because they’re not possible or real. It challenges my perspective and mindset expanding my worldview.
I find joy, comfort and peace with books, many people may not get it, but I know bookworms like me truly understand. Reading makes my heart happy.