Friday, November 30, 2012

Room by Emma Donoghue

Today is Jack's 5th birthday. He wakes up in Room like every morning, walks across Rug over to Table where Ma gets him breakfast. He gets to watch an extra cartoon on TV because it's his birthday. It's a little fuzzy so he moves Bunny to make the picture better. He loves to see Dora, but she's not real, she's just TV like the sea and the sky and dogs and other little boys and girls. For Jack, Room is the only home he's ever known. To Ma, Room is an 11 X 11 ft prison that has held her captive for seven years since the day 'Old Nick' kidnapped her. Every night Jack goes to bed in Wardrobe, just in case Old Nick comes to see Ma. Jack doesn't like Old Nick, but he does bring their food and Sundaytreat. But Jack is growing more curious about what is real and what is TV and Ma knows that Room can't contain him for much longer.

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to read this book. I saw it at Barnes and Noble and thought it looked interesting but didn't buy it. I only picked it up after I saw it for $0.99 at Goodwill. The good thing about this book is that it's told in the perspective of Jack, a five year old so it can't delve too deep into the gory details. I was amazed at how well Donoghue was able to fully tell such a complex story through the mind of a 5 year old.

Room is a very powerful novel that sucks you in, puts you in the shoes of someone seeing the world for the first time and shows you the strong impenetrable bond between a mother and son. It only takes the first couple pages to get used to the way Jack talks:
"Usually I'm not allowed to draw on any bits of Room or furnitures. When I was two I scribbled on the leg of Bed, her one near Wardrobe, so whenever we're cleaning Ma taps the scribble and says, "Look, we have to live with that forever." But my birthday tall is different, it's tiny numbers beside Door, a black 4, and a black 3 underneath, and a red 2 that was the color our old Pen was till he ran out, and at the bottom a red 1." -Room, pg. 12
While I still felt sad during the book because it's such on awful situation, it's hard to be constantly overcome with grief when I five yo is leading you through the story with such naive optimism. I read this book in roughly two days, I could not put it down. Jack is such a fantastic narrator and their story is one that most of us aren't familiar with. I can't imagine being in Ma's situation and trying to figure out how to teach a child about the world when he has never seen outside an 11 X 11 ft room that doesn't have any windows.

I was blown away by this book and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has a heart and knows how to read. Be prepared to laugh and cry and laugh and gasp and applaud and get totally and completely sucked in to Room.

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