Hi guys. Going back to my post about generosity I am bringing you a book review for the author Brian C. Johnson. I am reading a bit outside my genre but I think my review is honest and informative and the daily prompt fits the themes of the book very well. Let’s get started.
The Room Downstairs is an interesting book to read, and although it’s outside my usual sphere of reading, I’m glad I put in the time to get to the end of it. This story actually tells two different stories that are linked together by a woman named Sam, who lives in the room downstairs, and an old family house passed on from family to family. The first residents are a deeply religious family and tells the story of the point of view characters childhood, and his friendship with a girl named Sam. The second story occurs when a new family move into the same house in a seemingly disconnected storyline. This is until the young boy of the house starts telling his parents about his friend who lives downstairs, none other than the same Sam.
The idea of telling two stories that have been linked together by Sam is an interesting concept, and the moment that I discovered this, when Darius starts talking to his mother about his new friend, I was intrigued enough to continue reading the story. However, when Danielle, the mother, assumes her to be an imaginary friend I started to question if she was there at all, and to the end of the book I am still not certain. Still, real or not, learning how Sam came to be the woman she is gave me a good understanding of her advice and the stories she would tell to young Darius as he was growing up. It’s a unique way of telling a story that I haven’t tried myself and I applaud the author for trying, and succeeding, with this style of writing.
This book provides a look into a different kind of childhood, and one that I have to admit to not being comfortable with. A religious upbringing is not something I have experienced, but it is exactly what is shown in this book, and quite possibly accurate for all I know. As I mentioned I wasn’t very comfortable reading these sections of the book, but that didn’t stop it from being engrossing and detailed, and for readers who find this subject interesting, then it will have an even stronger effect than it did on me.
The second half of the story show a set of characters who I had a much easier time reading, as they react to each other and frequent changes in their lives. Of all the characters in this book I think that the parents in the second half were the most realistic I came across in this book, as they clash over real issues that a lot of couples have to face in real life. They go through trials, disagreement over having a child, and then the birth of a son who has serious health issues. Then they go through highs, the husband becoming successful in his career, and their son living through childbirth to grow up. Each of these events has an effect that changes their lives in one way or another, and I appreciate how realistic their reactions are throughout this part of the book.
Despite reading outside of my comfort zone there was only one part of this book that I didn’t enjoy. At the end of the book is an epilogue which reveals a considerable change to how I viewed the story. Honestly, after the ending featuring Darius and his family, I felt that book could have been left there and I would have been satisfied. The epilogue felt tacked on and unnecessary and robbed the story of the small amount of mystery it had built up around Sam and her room in the basement.
To conclude I found this to be an interesting and engrossing read, and if this genre is one you’re interested in then I would certainly recommend this book, both for it’s realistic characters and it’s interesting storytelling technique.
That’s it for now but if this proves popular I might bring a few more reviews to the site. If you want to see more leave me a comment, and tune back in next friday for another review.
Until then, don’t go downstairs