Held captive for eight years, a woman and her young daughter escape only to find that the outside world can be as frightening as their locked room.
Kidnapped at age 16 from outside her high school and subjected to years of systematic abuse and rape, which resulted in a daughter, Lily Riser never thought her captor would let his guard down long enough for her to slip away. But he did, and she took off running, 6-year-old Sky in her arms. When she arrives on foot back at her family home, ironically only a few miles away, she finds the family in shambles. Her father, Dave, died of a heart attack soon after she disappeared, and her mother, Eve, now sleeps with anonymous men. But the biggest change is in her identical twin sister, Abby, once her constant companion and confidante. Pregnant and with the scars of a suicide attempt and the snarls of a recovering addict, Abby is nothing like the sister Lily remembers. Overton overplays her hand by revealing the identity of Lily’s abductor early on: the girls’ suave high school English teacher, Rick Hanson. With their situation owing more than a passing resemblance to Emma Donoghue’s Room (2010), Lily and Sky must learn to live in a world larger than the room Hanson built them, especially Sky, who’s never existed outside captivity. The dramas of the Riser women as they try to navigate their respective new lives, complicated by the reappearance of Lily’s first love, are compelling but lacking in true dramatic conflict, even with the specter of Hanson lurking and plotting behind bars.
Overton, while capturing the unique bond shared by identical twins, never manages to maintain narrative momentum beyond a series of heartfelt vignettes.