A book about a woman who was abducted and is now raising the son of the abductor in an 11 foot by 11 foot room…there was NO WAY I was going to read this book…regardless of how amazing everyone kept saying it was.
What convinced me to read ROOM? Our school librarian told my English class that it is a book about the depth of a mother’s love for her child. Well, when you put it that way…
I ate it up. Am I ever glad I stopped being a pansy and read what quickly became one of my absolute favourite books.
Author Emma Donoghue is one gutsy writer…I would’ve shuddered at the thought of inventing such a world. I’m glad she’s stronger than I am because she produced a beautiful book.
The book is narrated by Jack. He’s five. And, he’s lived in Room with his Ma his whole life. His mother creates an incredible world for Jack – she teachings him absolutely everything she knows and then some. Jack is wise and intuitive.
I loved that every part of Room (Bed, Table, Wardrobe, Lamp etc) was personified and was so very important to Jack. Each shabby object took on a life of it’s own in Jack’s world.
Jack was sheltered from the brutality of his mother’s ordeal, and she kept him hidden in Wardrobe every night so Old Nick (Jack’s name for his mother’s abductor) wouldn’t see or hurt Jack. Yet, Jack was still very aware of the danger that Old Nick posed. Even if he couldn’t put words to it.
As much as I wanted them to be freed from captivity, I absolutely LOVED their relationship. (Except the breastfeeding part – completely understandable, but an innocent 5 year old looking for it made me squirmy)
***spoiler alert*** I will discuss the outcome next.
The moment of escape – WOW! I could not stop reading – I read every 5 words or so (as a friend of mine said she did) and then had to go back and fill in the blanks once I knew that Jack was going to be ok! Their plan for Jack to be “dead” and Old Nick be forced to take him out of the shed and into the world to bury him worked. I kept having visions of Old Nick discovering that Jack was not dead and hurting him and it made me nuts – I had to get reassurance from others that I could keep reading.
Donoghue masterfully makes us feel a sense of loss when they escape. Jack has lost a sanctuary where only he and his mother existed and is forced to be with other people. Conversely, his mother is ecstatic to be free after a horrific, cruel ordeal. Their relationship is under fire as each tries to cope with a new reality.
Every moment of his awareness of the world around him is harsh – I was so angry with this aunt! How dare she take him to the mall to pick up a gift for someone else? What was she thinking?!?
I can’t believe that part of me actually wanted for them to be back in Room – or in a Room-like place – for the sake of Jack. I felt so badly for him, poor kid.
ROOM yanked at every feeling in my heart. I completely related to his mother’s fierce need to protect and love Jack. I felt throes of anger and fear every time Old Nick was in the room. I was terrified and anxious when they escaped and was full of pity and compassion as they adjusted to their new life. This book will take you through every possible emotion – and, it is so very worth it.
If you’ve read ROOM, please let me know what you thought! If you haven’t, you must. It is a beautiful, beautiful book.