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My Review of The Guest By Emma Cline

I didn’t like this book, and honestly, I did not finish it. For what I did manage to get through, I give it a 2 out of 5.

The author’s writing is excellent, and the story is essentially a stream of consciousness that, after a while, became boring and repetitious. I couldn’t become invested enough in the plot or the characters to see it through to the end.

The Guest is about a young woman named Alex, a pathological liar and an expert grifter. Her story begins with her being kicked out of her New York City apartment by her roommates for not paying her share of the rent. Alex hides on Long Island while evading a city boyfriend from whom she stole money.

After a while, a wealthy older man named Simon moves her into his beach house. Alex believes she has finally made it, but her happiness is short-lived when Simon kicks her out after she makes a faux pas at a party. Drunk and fully clothed, she jumps into the pool with the hostess’s younger husband. Alex had also wrecked his car earlier that day and did not tell him.

After he kicks her out, she aimlessly walks around Long Island, waiting for Simon’s party on Labor Day, hoping he will take her back. In the meantime, she lives with the help of a teenage boy who falls in love with her. Cline does an excellent job of capturing Alex’s apathy toward others; it’s clear that Alex is lost and without a home, bouncing between men, hoping to find someone to provide for her. However, she seems unaware that she might be capable of independently finding a way to live without relying on sex. Or was there some past trauma the reader doesn’t know about that led Alex to this lifestyle?

I started to wonder what the point of this story was. Was it simply to get back to Simon’s place for the Labor Day party? Regardless, I didn’t want to stick around any longer to find out.

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