Sunday, April 10, 2011
Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue
Room is narrated by a five-year-old boy named Jack. Jack lives in Room. He eats at Table, sleeps in Wardrobe, and plays on Rug. And because he's never been outside of this 11' x 11' place, he thinks Room is the extent of the world, and he's content with it. His mother, Ma, was kidnapped when she was 19 and imprisoned in Room, a makeshift holding cell constructed by "Old Nick" out of his shed. Jack calls him Old Nick because he only comes in the nighttime and brings them their supplies and occasional treats, and to spend time in bed with Ma. But Old Nick recently told Ma that he's been "laid off," and Ma worries that he'll stop bringing them food and cut off their electricity. It's time for a plan, and Jack must face new facts about the existence of people and places outside of Room.
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The author writes very convincingly as a five-year-old, and every situation he faces brings to light many things readers may have never thought about. If you'd never seen farther than eleven feet in front of you, how underdeveloped would your depth perception be? If your mother was the only person who'd ever spoken to you, how confused would you be when somebody else did? How could you imagine wind or the feel of grass on your feet if you'd never experienced it? Combining the imagination of a smart but sheltered little boy with a very suddenly expanded view of the universe makes for a very interesting, and at times very emotional, read. Through Jack's perspective, you can also easily empathize with other characters, especially his mother. But where Room represents imprisonment for Ma, it's everything Jack knows and loves. And Jack being forced to view Room differently is both painful and encouraging to experience through reading this book.
For a trailer, see: http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m4DZ78ND6W1YJ/ref=ent_fb_link