Outskirts Press (2018)
Reviewed by Megan Weiss for Reader Views (9/18)
David Goldwasser’s “Room 203C” is a masterpiece of interwoven storylines and characters. Max, the novel’s protagonist, starts out as a young, scared boy suffering from the effects of polio and as time goes on, he grows into a compassionate man dedicating to helping those who are less fortunate than he is. Upon reaching adulthood, Max takes a job as a maintenance worker in the hospital where he had spent part of his childhood trapped in an iron lung. There, Max takes on multiple roles: maintenance man, freelance researcher, and most importantly, a confidant for the children who he watches come and go from Room 203C, which was where he had spent his time during his bout with polio. Along the course of his life, he meets Elsa, an 11-year-old with a rare form of leukemia, but who survives and becomes one of the best lawyers her generation will ever see. He meets young Peter Stone, who suffered catastrophic burns in a house fire and lost his siblings, as well as a mother, who never came back for him. Peter grows up to become a famous fashion designer.
What seems to be most special about “Room 203C” is the emphasis on the ability for people in different situations to still be able to express empathy for others, and form strong, lasting bonds. On the back cover of the novel, Goldwasser’s identified as being a retired teacher and nurse. As I read through the course of the book, it was easy to see how the influences from his time spent in those positions transferred to his writing. The medical terminology was realistic and accurate yet written in a way that would allow the general public to understand the complex diseases and situations he captures in his book. The novel could be catered well to both a general audience or to readers who enjoy medical fiction, historical fiction, and more.
There are a few typing errors in the book, which could be distracting at times, but for the most part the author’s use of language and tone is well applied. The errors can easily be remedied in future editions of the books through some extra editing.
“Room 203C” overall is a fantastic conglomeration of life stories. Its characters, its themes, and its meanings reflect an appreciation and acceptance for diversity, human courtesy, and kindness toward others. Goldwasser’s novel seems to say: We are all in different places in life. We all came from different roots. Some of us have more opportunities than others, some of us have to struggle just to scrape by and survive. No matter what, however, all people have a right to be loved and cared for. Whether you are a six-year-old boy or an old man, we all deserve to feel like someone in the world cares about our well-being and wants to see us thrive. “Room 203C” by David Goldwasser reinforces the belief that everyone has a story to tell, we just need to take the time to listen and be present. This is a unique story written by a talented writer with a voice dedicated to spreading the love and acceptance we so desperately need in this world right now.