Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

I have just finished reading Room by Emma Donoghue, and I must say, what a ride! I have never read this author's books before, but I will be looking for others. Ms. Donoghue has written a novel that will stay with me for a long while.

Room: A NovelRoom is the story of a young woman and her five-year-old son, Jack. Jack's mother was kidnapped when she was 19 years old by a man they call Old Nick. He had built a soundproof shed in his backyard and when he brought her home he locked her in this place and would not allow her to get out. Ever. He brought her food and other necessities, but when the book begins, she has been confined to the "room" and has not seen anything outside the room except for a little sunshine through a skylight. For seven years.

The tale begins when Jack turns five. He also has never been outside the room. They have a TV and a toilet, bath, and stove, and a few pieces of furniture. Since Jack has lived his entire life inside the shed, he is content to spend every day with his mother in their confinement, playing games, reading books, and watching TV. The only bad part about all of this for him are the visits from Old Nick, when Jack must spend the night in the wardrobe so that Nick will leave him alone.

The story is told from the perspective of this five-year-old boy. The language is juvenile, yet credible and endearing. There were a few places where I had to stop and figure out what he was referring to in his childlike descriptions, but this did not take away from my enjoyment of the book.

When Jack begins to ask more questions about the world ouside the room , his mother has trouble revealing the truth without causing him too mush stress. He therefore becomes more and more confused as to what "Outside" is really like:

"Ouside has everything. Whenever I think of a thing now like skis or fireworks or islands or elevators or yoyos, I have to remember they're real, they're actually happening in Outside all together. It makes my head tired. And people too, firefighters teachers burglars babies saints soccer players and all sorts, they're all really in Outside. I'm not there, though, me and Ma, we're the only ones not there. Are we still real?"   

The tender relationship between the mother and her child seems to be what keeps both of them from going mad. I wish more children were more cared for as this woman cared for her boy. I wanted to cry during some parts, then laugh during others as this duo showed remarkable strength and courage in the midst of a horrific situation. I'm sure this book will go on my list of Top Ten Books of 2010.

I give Room by Emma Donoghue 5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Wow - sounds intense!