The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill is an adult fiction book with a historical flair. This story follows two orphans who live and grow up in Montreal during the Great Depression. Unemployment, sex, drugs and crime are rampant on the cold gray streets of Montreal. The world is harsh and it’s consequences harsher.
Born into this world is Rose and Pierrot, orphans who were abandoned at birth and grow up together at a Christian orphanage. Rose and Pierrot share a unique soul; they are full of life and love nothing more than to laugh and make believe. As children they perform for the wealthy and form an unbreakable bond.
Rose and Pierrot are separated at 15 and their paths take very different courses. This is the story of their struggles, successes and the strange paths they take to find one another again. This is a story of a love that knows no bounds. This is a story of their journey and about what happens to love when life gets in the way.
I picked up this one originally because of this blurb in the synopsis:
With echoes of The Night Circus, a spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since they can remember whose childhood talents allow them to rewrite their future.
Let me start off my saying that this book is not The Night Circus, no way no how. The only “echo” is maybe the fact that Rose and Pierrot have to find each other under strange circumstances and that they put on a unique show near the end. That’s it. So if this review does nothing else, hopefully it will make you read through the synopsis a little more thoroughly before picking it up.
That being said, this book was not for me. There was too much sexual depravity and moral wickedness and I love dark morally corrupt books but this went a little too far for me. And it was just weird because our main characters are so light and full of life, that the sex and general degradation of humanity seemed sort of surreal. But seriously if you aren’t into explicit sexual content this book isn’t for you because two pages in we get a 15 year old impregnate an 11 year old girl by playing doctor and telling her he needed to “take her temperature” with his penis. Yea…
The only thing I liked about this book was the show Rose and Pierrot put on. It was silly and magical and yet it was a commentary on the depression and the human experience during the depression. I also enjoyed the way Rose and Pierrot communicated with each other and how Pierrot’s song evolves throughout the story.
I’m sure many people could read a lot into this book and come out with intelligent morals or use it for a literary analysis paper but as a general, pleasure read? It wouldn’t be my go-to. Overall, this just wasn’t one I enjoyed. For that reason it only gets two stars from me.
That’s all for now!