Sunday, July 10, 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue

Published 2010, Hardcover, 336 pages. Library copy.

I was pleased to see this in my library's "Grab and Go" section, where books can't be renewed or held. I picked it up, took it home, and read it in two sittings. I really enjoyed the read!

Jack is a five-year-old boy, and he's grown up with his mom in Room. He's never been Outside. He doesn't even know Outside exists at the beginning. Old Nick brings them Sundaytreats and visits Ma while Jack is hidden away in Wardrobe. But Ma knows Room can't hold them forever, so even though Jack is scared, she plans an escape for them. . .

I thought it was a very intriguing concept. I've never read a book that dealt with a kidnapping and isolation such as this. It's inspired by a true story that took place in Austria when a father held his daughter in his basement for twenty-four years, during which she birthed seven children and had one miscarriage.

The story is told through Jake's precocious voice. I thought this was an interesting choice. What is a rather depressing subject took on a very different mood, one of imagination and discovery and occasionally fear. I think the second half of the book may have suffered because of Jack's point of view. I wanted to know more, but his perception of the world was limited, and occasionally it seemed more of a laundry list of new things in his life. But I laughed out loud at some of Jack's comments or misunderstandings. I think his voice was great. Some people criticize he didn't have a great grasp on grammar, but he's only five and had five books to work with. Give him a break, people!

Because of the simple writing, it was easy for me to read through quite quickly. I was on the edge of my seat during their escape attempts and I kept talking to myself about what I wanted to happen. I was probably lucky my husband wasn't home ;)

In the end, it's a fascinating story about Jack and Ma's journey, but moreso Jack. Like I said, it would have been nice to see more of Ma, but I really think the book worked in Jack's voice. If we focused on Ma and her point of view, the book would have had completely different mood, style, content, etc. How it is now works. It's a story that will stick with me, and I will recommend it to others.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book, though it was absolutely terrifying in places (more than some pure horror novels even!) A lot of people hated the second half though, so I wrote a defense of sorts of it here: