Friday, August 5, 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue (CBR book #22)

I've always been a bit slow when it came to trends and technology, always the last to embrace new things. I jumped on the cell phone train probably 5-10 years after everyone started carrying them around (including 12 year olds). Smart phone? Puh-leese. Who needs THAT? I discovered myspace just as everyone transitioned to facebook, and if there's anything better than facebook now, I have no idea what it is. As far as trends, I was never into the fashion trends or pop culture until it was too late. Remember all those boybands back in the 90's? I never followed them as a kid. And all the popular shows on Showtime and HBO? I usually start renting season 1 on Netflix when everyone's watching season four "live" on TV.

I say all that to say this...I'm probably one of the last people on the book blogosphere to read Room. If you're thinking, "I haven't read that book," do you have a book blog? I didn't think so.

Anyway, the reviews of Room have been mixed. The general feeling I got was that it was a good book, a bit disturbing, and possibly annoying since it's written from a 5 year old's perspective. I must say, I agree.

Basically, Room is about a boy named Jack and his mother who live in an 11'x11' room. To Jack, Room is his world. He knows nothing else and has no desire to see what is beyond Room. In fact, he doesn't think there IS anything beyond Room. It's an interesting "world" view. And it is in stark contrast to his mother's view of Room. She's like you or I (I hope, at least). She used to live a normal life in a house with freedom to do what she wanted. But she ended up in Room with Jack. If you want to know how, you'll have to read the book.


The book can be divided into two parts. The first part deals with Jack's life in Room, what he and his mother do from day to day. You also receive bits of information that reveal how Jack and his mother came to live in Room. The second part deals with their life after Room and how Jack deals with the outside world. This second half is what I really liked about the book. Once Jack starts interacting with people, we are privy to his thoughts and motivations, which aren't always obvious by his words and actions. I think Donoghue was very insightful when she wrote Jack. It helped me understand why children might react to adults in certain ways or say certain things. If you just see Jack's reactions to things without understanding what he's thinking, he just seems like a strange little kid. But because we see the world from his perspective, everything he says and does makes sense.

And I understood why Jack wanted to go back to room. It was a place where he felt safe, loved, and did nothing but play with his mom all day. It was an interesting perspective in comparison with his mother, who knew Room as a prison and wanted nothing more than to get away from it.


So it's a recommend from me, and it's a pretty easy read on top of that. Like I said earlier though, the fact that the book is written in Jack's voice is a bit of a put-off. But if you can get past that, it's an interesting story, cleverly and insightfully written.

1 comment:

  1. A heart wrenching tale of a mother who is trying with all her might to protect her son from her kidnapper, but at the same time keeping him from knowing what is in the outside world that he is missing. Esentially she has made a world for him so he doesn't understand that his situation is different from anyone else's "normal." Some may think this weird of her - I find her to be heroic to not expose her son to the reality of the world they are trapped in while making sure that is enjoying their current status.