Thursday, May 26, 2011

Room - Emma Donoghue


I read Room this week for the Canadian Reading Challenge and I can't stop thinking about it. It's brilliant. I circled it for a few months, unsure if I wanted to buy it. My hesitancy was misplaced. Room is the best novel I've read so far this year.

For those who haven't read this book yet, Room is about a young woman (known only as Ma) and her son, Jack, who have lived in captivity since before Jack was born. Seven years before, Ma had been a college student kidnapped by someone she and Jack refer to only as 'Old Nick'. Room is the only home Jack has ever known, and Ma has striven, in spite of her horrific situation and limited resources, to keep Jack safe and healthy, to educate him and to give him routine and a sense of security.

Bravo to author Emma Donoghue for telling the story from 5-year-old Jack's point of view. Most authors would have gone for alternate chapters with Ma and Jack, (and probably one with Old Nick to prove how well they could 'write crazy') which would have diluted the intensity. Part thriller, part psychological study with a dash of satire thrown in, Room and its occupants left me speculating and filling in the spaces of the missing years and wondering about the direction their futures would take.

If you haven't read this book yet, go find it and read it immediately. In this case, any hype you've seen or heard is absolutely deserved.

9 comments:

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'm so with you on this one. The reason it was so good is because the author DIDN'T write it from Ma's POV. The naïveté Jack's voice brought made the subject bearable. I tried to recommend it to someone the other day and they said something like, "I heard about that book, a kidnapped woman and rape child, no thank you." It's their loss. I'm still thinking about that book months later.

Jenny said...

Oo, a chapter from Old Nick would have made such a difference to this book -- not in a good way, in an icky way. I wouldn't have minded seeing Ma's point of view after they escaped, because once they were away from Room I admit I got a little annoyed with Jack's narrative voice.

Care said...

This book is.... odd. No one in my book club found it as profound, interesting, etc. as the blogger community. I myself thought it only OK. I just didn't buy the language, not that I have much to offer to dispute but.... OH well! i am glad you found it compelling and valuable as an experience. It IS quite thought provoking but such a difficult subject.
btw, I have been scared to search for damage Sedalia photos after recent storms. Hope your loved ones are OK.

Teacher/Learner said...

I STILL haven't read this yet but I'm glad you hear you liked it. I think it's much more impressive that the author wrote from a 5-year-old's POV than Old Nick or Ma. I sure hope I'm not the last person on Earth to read this :P

Carrie said...
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anothercookiecrumbles said...

I loved this book when I read it last year. I couldn't put it down - not even for a second, and it was one of my favourites last year.

Wanda said...

I heard about this one awhile back and put it on my library list ... will put it on hold today if there isn't still a a backload of people still waiting for (a) Room.

Sue F. said...

Agreed! I was just telling someone the other day that so far this year, Room is the best book that I have read. I loved it.

Danmark said...

I've been stuck in the world of memoirs for about 5 years now and decided to try a novel once again. I am so glad that I did. The way Emma channels the mind of a 5 year old boy was astounding. That's just the topping on the cake. There was no point in this story line that I wasn't hooked in. I am looking forward to reading more of her books! She paints a vivid picture for you; so much that you feel empathy for the characters. I would recommend this book (and have) to anyone!