Room by Emma Donoghue
Book Description: ROOM is narrated by a five-year-old called Jack, who lives in a single room with his Ma and has never been outside. An international bestseller as soon as it was published in August 2010, ROOM has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (for best Canadian novel). It has also been a finalist for International Author of the Year (Galaxy National Book Awards) and the Governor General’s Award.
Jack and Ma live in a locked room that measures eleven foot by eleven. When he turns five, he starts to ask questions, and his mother reveals to him that there is a world outside. Told entirely in Jack’s voice, ROOM is no horror story or tearjerker, but a celebration of resilience and the love between parent and child.
Here's What I Think: This book was difficult to start because of the language. The story is told entirely from the point of view of a 5 year old named Jack. So the thoughts are sometimes illogical and the speech is strange. For example instead of saying "the room" or "the table" he refers to everyday items with proper names like "Room" or "Table". However, once you get your head around this aspect of the story, you really get into horrific nightmare that the boy only knows as his normal. It really is heart-wrenching to think of how easily (sad but true) something like this could happen in your own neighbor's backyard and you never know about it. Normally, I do not like stories that constantly switch back and forth between two character's points of view, but I think this story could have benefited. I say this only because there are lots of things that Jack simply doesn't understand, especially after they leave Room, so as a reader you are forced to infer the details, and I would rather "know". I do have to say that Donoghue did a phenomenal job, technically speaking, in writing this novel. She makes you believe you are listening to a 5 year old, who is rather intelligent in terms of book learning, but completely ignorant when it comes to the society and interaction with the world. The book does sort of come to an abrupt, however complete ending, so I was a little deflated by that. I think this book is a "love it or hate it" sort of book, because I know some will have a difficult time getting past the style of writing. I say give it a try and if you can get past page 40, you should be okay.