You may have heard of Emily Bleeker. Her novel When I’m Gone was a bestseller. Because I read cozies and zombie apocalypse fiction too much, I’ve been reading other genres. The Waiting Room is a thriller/suspense, or psychological fiction. It’s a nice mishmash for me because it has the elements of the mystery books but also is the element of suspense.
I will rate a book 5 stars no matter how bad the grammar is or if other people dislike the book. If I forget what’s going on and I lose track of time that for me is a sign that the book was engrossing. If I pick up a book at midnight and put it down at 5 o’clock in the morning, the book gets five stars for me. I can immerse myself in a book.
That’s the point a good book isn’t always going to Pulitzer prize worthy. A good book takes you away. The problem is The Waiting Room makes you wait awhile for the book to take you away.
Veronica is the protagonist or antagonist. Depending on your point of view. The book drags on. The waiting room does not pick up until after a third of the books duration. I skimmed through the book because I had such a hard time getting into it. I scrolled through and landed on the crux. Which was a real mistake? Yes, that gave me the motivation to keep reading, but it also wrecked me.
I was not expecting the traumatic event that sets everything in this book in motion. The waiting room is a slow burn. That’s another issue at some point you wonder is Veronica the good guy here? I don’t want to give you spoilers but it’s impossible to not tell you what I found wrong with this book. I want to save you the trouble if you have a hard time with books with a slow start.
Once the plot builds up and you get the payoff, the book falls flat. The problem with this book is you start with the crisis. Then there is a time jump and its six months later and there’s no filler. You don’t know Veronica’s journey.
Veronica says six months after her husband’s death she unable to touch her own child. She’s living with her mother and her mother is doing all the caring for the child. In real world wouldn’t fly. This is not a fantasy book. It’s a thriller and for suspension of disbelief to take place things need to seem logical. If Veronica was driving and caused an accident that hurt her daughter that would make sense. Her being afraid to touch Sophie is logical but even then that is a stretch.
Also, the reason she cannot touch her is flimsy. Veronica waits six months after her husband’s death to see a therapist. And then it is for postpartum depression. The waiting room is a novel about grief and how it can push a person to its limits. Not knowing the why makes it hard to believe a mother would reject her own child. The gist is if you’ve lost your husband why wouldn’t you hold the one thing you have left of him and that is your child?
If you read my book reviews, I guess you could infer that I nitpick. I could tell you 10 reasons a book is wonderful and to read it. All it takes is one glaring omission on my part. Or something distasteful or illogical for you to want to stop reading. That’s the problem with the novel. We spend a good part of it not having any reason to believe Veronica is a good person or well-intentioned. We believe she’s a self-indulgent. That Veronica is so sucked up in her own grief, she’s forgotten there are other people grieving that same loss.
Then there is Gillian. The one ally hurting as much as Veronica. Gillian was someone who needed a friend and Veronica preyed on that. After Gillian proves her worth and a twist of fate reveals the most shocking secret. Veronica forgives Gillian. Veronica does not disclose to Gillian the complete truth.
There was no payoff. Veronica was like yeah I got help and I’m so much better now. See ya. After a slow build up and several twists and turns the ending was a letdown. The ending should have been more emotional. There could have been more. That would have left me the reader feeling more fulfilled.
Emily Bleeker is fantastic at writing those gut wrenching scenes. The plot twists are stunning but somewhat predictable. Hopefully, in the next book there will be more character motivation. This book was after the first 1/3 of the novel entertaining but it was lacking enough to leave me wanting more. Not in a want a sequel way. The waiting room is entertaining. It delivered a new twist on the thriller/suspense genre. For that The Waiting Room is a good read.
Click here to read my review of The Dream Daughter.
Click here to read my review of How To Walk Away,