Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Room

Nearly a year after I first heard about Emma Donoghue's novel Room I've finally read the book. (Because ever since A. bought me a Kindle last month I've been reading nonstop. It's great!) The book's premise centers around the narrator, 5-year-old Jack, and his Ma who was kidnapped by Old Nick and held captive in a small room seven years ago. To Jack, Room is his entire world, it's all he knows and in an effort to protect him and keep Jack from wanting the things they cannot have, his mother has led him to believe that only the things in their makeshift home is real; everything else - other boys and girls, trees, stores, airplanes, pets, etc. - is imaginary, only appearing on TV.

In Room, Jack eats, sleeps, plays, learns, and asks question after question and his mom is realizing that the older he gets, the smaller Room will become. Jack is perfectly happy for Room is his home, but to his mother, the 11x11-ft. cell is just a reminder of the life she's missing and how much she yearns to be free.

It took me a little while to get used to the language as it's written entirely from Jack's point of view, but once you get into it it's hard to put down. When I tried explaining the premise to A. all he could say was how depressing and disturbing the storyline sounded, and it is considering the fact that there are sick people who do kidnap, rape, and hold women hostage for years, but hearing the story from Jack almost makes you forget how sad their situation is. Instead, the story leaves Old Nick in the shadows and focuses on the bond between mother and child. His mom is being raped by Old Nick and yet all you know about that act are the number of times the bed creaks as Jack counts them off while safely tucked in for the night in Wardrobe. He knows Old Nick is a scary character and understands that he can hurt his mother, but the rape only registers as a game to Jack much like counting sheep to fall asleep.

Some parts of the story call for a suspension of belief - especially Jack's sheer intelligence and vocabulary at only five years old - but if you go along with it, you'll actually find humor and fall in love with the curious way a child experiences the world around him. You'll see the power a mother's love has over her child, how he will want to do anything to make his mom safe and happy, and the lengths she will go through to give her child everything.

Image: roomthebook.com

3 comments :

  1. Oooh thanks for the suggestion. Definitely picking this up at some point.

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  2. Sounds like an interesting read.

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  3. Very interesting, simple yet meaningful review. You can do it right, girl!

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