The awesome ‘Room’ – Emma Donoghue

As soon as I heard about this book mid-last year, I ordered my copy from the UK and waited with bated breath for it to arrive as I had a feeling that it was going to be right up my street, and I was oh so right.  I was hooked from the first page, where we first meet Jack and Ma.

Jack – for those of you who haven’t come across this gem of a book yet – is a bright and inquisitive 5 year old boy who knows nothing of the ‘real’ world as he was born ‘in captivity’ to his kidnapped mother in Room.  The story is heard through Jack’s voice and what a voice –  it is so spot-on for a 5 year old boy who is very different to your average 5 year old boy.  Emma Donoghue has captured his innocence and strange way of talking so perfectly, and his confusion as the story develops and he is faced with new and strange experiences.  You feel such empathy for him and want everything to turn out alright for him.  The book is all the more fascinating for the fact that we never ‘hear’ anyone else’s thoughts but regardles, you still get a very strong sense of ‘Ma’ and I felt her worry, stress, confusion, concern, anger and impatience.

Ma was abducted as a teenager and is raped by her captor, Old Nick, on a regular basis (she sends Jack to the protection of Wardrobe when he comes to visit) in the sound-proof shed at the bottom of his garden.  She entertains Jack with whatever games she can make up and find in their isolation and devotes all her energy to him.  She is the center of his Universe and vice versa.  The book is divided into 2 parts – inside Room and outside Room.  When they do escape – and this was the only implausible part of the story to me at the time, but then I realised that to move the story onwards, Donoghue had to get Jack out of Room – Jack ends up missing Room, Rug, Wardrobe as the real World takes over and he is completely overwhelmed and over sensualised.  He misses being the only two people in the center of the Universe.

Room is definitely in my Top 10 of books.  It is unique and very different to anything else I’ve read.  Jack is a brilliant and fascinating character, so well written and real.  The book is thought provoking and it’ll stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished reading it, and will no doubt be doing the rounds of your book-loving friends for months afterwards.  Amazing book.


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