Newest Review: ... have been intentional. The plot follows the story of a young boy (Jack) and his mother who was abducted by 'Old Nick' at the age of 19... more
A thought provoking read
Room - Emma Donoghue
Member Name: xmum2threex
Room - Emma Donoghue
Date: 15/12/12, updated on 15/12/12 (46 review reads)
Advantages: A really interesting read
After reading a review on this book I decided it was time for me to read it to see what all the fuss was about. I had never read any of the author's books before so I was not sure what to expect, but it promised to be a gripping read. It certainly did pull me in, and as it is a relatively short book I finished it within a day as I just could not put it down.
We meet Jack on his fifth birthday. Everything seems normal until you realise there is no one in this room but Jack and his ma along with the few possessions they own. Ma and Jack never leave the room as everything they see on TV and the outside world is not real. This 11 by 11 room is their whole life. Possessions that we would take for granted like a rug or a wardrobe are friends to Jack. But why do they never leave the room? Within the first few pages we start to understand that Jack is not a normal little boy. In fact his whole situation is highly unusual and shocking. As you read on you realise the ins and outs what is going on everything slowly dawns on you.
It's not long before you realise that actually Ma is being imprisoned against her will. She was kidnapped at the young age of 19, and Jack is the result of the abuse she has suffered. While Jack is happy with his life, Ma knows that with circumstances changing she may no longer be able to protect Jack. She makes a plan to escape and this is where the story leads, showing how a poor little boy has his whole world tipped upside down. The book is split in to three sections which work really well. The story takes place over a relatively short time they are indeed three completely different situations for Jack. It may sound like I have given a lot of the story away, but upon reading you will see there is so much more to the book than he basic storyline.
The book is very well written but at first I found it really hard to read. As it is written through the eyes of a five year old boy it is written the way a young child would think. I did find it difficult to really enjoy the book at first having to read back sentences, but a few pages in I began to understand why it was written this way. It became a lot easier to read, and in the end I actually found myself enjoying it this unusual description. While he is explaining things, and questioning the world around him we realise what is really happening so we learn at the same time as he does. The innocence of the little boy shines through, while we are given enough information to make informed guesses at why Ma and Jack are really in this room Jack has no clue.
As Ma and Jack are the only two people in the room, with occasional visits from 'Old Nick' we learn about the characters quickly. We learn how they keep each other sane, and live very carefully recycling anything possible as they own so little. We also learn how Ma had managed to keep Jack as healthy as possible and educated while refined to such a small space. This book shows mothers unconditional love for her child, and sons for his mother. We get to see who Ma is, and the way she is feeling through Jack which I think is enough to know the character. This helps keep details to a minimum making it an easier read mood wise, but still portrays enough detail to know the horrible things she has been through.
The story was very believable I found. It is sad to think that these horror stories really do happen in the world, but from high media cases unfortunately it does. I found the author covered it perfectly as an adult we realise everything that is happening around Jack, but to a naive youngster he really does not have a clue. This means it is not too upsetting to read, but we are given enough detail to feel empathy for the characters. It also touches sensitive issues like adjusting to a new life and the media pushing for their next big story. I do think it was written perfectly and although not based on a real story as such it shows all the issues someone would face in this situation so she has done her research.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Although it is a story of sadness and mistreatment it is also a story of unconditional love and hope. I actually found it really hard to put the book down which was surprising as I expected misery and hate. Instead it is a story based on pure love, and you can't help but love the characters. It really is a book I will never forget, or the empathy I found for Jack and his Ma while reading it. It really does make you take a second look at everything around you and realise how lucky you are. It was strangely uplifting as it showed the raw feelings of such a young child, who was thrown in to a world alien to anyone but him. Room is widely available at all bookshops, but the copy I own is on kindle. I was a little concerned with it being narrated by a five year old, but it works perfectly so that we learn things while Jack does. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, and it is one I can see myself reading again in the future.
Summary: Highly recommended