Newest Review: ... the whole understanding of the emotions is complex. The story comes from the eyes of Jack, who is the young son, born in the 'room' or mod... more
Jack is five. He lives in a single, locked room with his Ma.
Room - Emma Donoghue
Member Name: Luvlylana
Room - Emma Donoghue
Advantages: Makes you stop and think about how lucky you are not to have gone through this situation
Disadvantages: Seems a little weak after a major turning point in the story until you reach the end of the book
In a recent bid to become more cultured by embracing reading to widen my knowledge and vocabulary, I set about trying to find a book that would really stimulate my mind, yet be fictional and readable at my leisure.
I happened across a review of Room by Emma Donoghue one day last year on the television, and it struck me as a book that I could really get into, due to my interest in psychology during my sixth form years.
Room follows the story of a five-year-old boy called Jack, who knows nothing other than the four walls and the contents of the room he was born in, and his mother, who he refers to as Ma.
He sleeps in a wardrobe, so as to be hidden away from "Old Nick" - their captor, who his Ma has occasional nightly visits from, and in the dark of his wardrobe, little Jack counts the creaks Old Nick makes upon the bed.
Ma has been trapped in the room for seven years - can she and Jack come up with a plan to escape their captor's evil clutches?
Getting into the story
Being written from the perspective of Jack, the book is written in such a way to try and reflect the speech of a young child - not least one who has some stunted development from his unfortunate upbringing. I personally felt this a little difficult to cope with during the first few pages of the book, as it made the text feel a little disjointed.
Over the next few pages I began to settle into the style of writing, and later was able to put it to the back of my mind rather than focus on it too much to fall into the story.
I found Donoghue's descriptions of the characters easy to picture - I envisaged a somewhat ferrel little boy for Jack before beginning to read the story, but despite his appearance he seems well educated and has the sort of manners you might expect one could learn within the confines of his four walls.
Ma was a little harder to picture until further into the book, as you have to wait for Jack to start describing her, which he does every so often to help you imagine her. It seemed to be that her appearance and personality was developed through the repetition of their daily routine, which in turn helps you come to understand their predicament.
Keeping your interest
I have to admit that after a crucial turning point in the book - which I don't think I am ruining by indicating that there is an escape attempt as you might expect - the story takes a bit of a nosedive, and loses the strength of atmosphere that it had before. It all seems to easy, and the reactions I would have expected the characters to have following this escape attempt are really lacking.
As a result I found myself continuing to read more out of habit and wanting to know if there would be a sudden change in their personalities or reactions, rather than wanting to complete the book or see if it ended happily. It just didn't seem to sit right that they adapted so quickly to change.
Following the hype of the review that I mentioned previously, I was left quite disappointed when reading Room. Having studied psychology at school, I had my own ideas and interpretations of how someone who had once lived a free life might respond to a long time in captivity, but was interested to see how the author would interpret the possibility of that same person and their offspring making it out into the real world.
I felt like I was left wanting a lot more from the characters because the way I envisaged the story traveling did not happen. Perhaps if I had allowed myself to be fully immersed in the story I may have been happier with the outcome, but as it was my preconceptions left me disappointed.
I think I would still recommend this to others as it gives you an opportunity to delve into a dark scenario that luckily the majority of us never encounter, but it puts things into perspective and makes you glad of what you have. But I would stress to go into this story with an open mind, as otherwise like me you may not be happy with the outcome of the plot if you have already formed ideas of what you believe should have been the outcome.
I bought Room from a Book Publishers Clearance store, as part of a 3 for £5 deal, so it was a really good deal.
The UK RRP is £7.99, but I think you would likely find it a lot cheaper online rather than the likes of Waterstones or WH Smith.
Published by Picador, the ISBN for this book is: 978-0-330-51902-1.
Also published on Ciao.
Summary: Expect the unexpected from this book, but it will make you value your luck in life