Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Room (Emma Donoghue)

Wow…I haven’t read a more powerful book than Emma Donoghue’s Room in a very long time.  While it has an extremely disturbing (and sadly, true-to-life) premise, Room also brings out the sweetness and innocence of a child in a way that is truly remarkable.

The narrator of the story is Jack, who proudly just turned five years old.  He’s been living with his Ma (we never learn her first name) in a small room since he’s been born, held captive by a man they call Old Nick.  Since Jack doesn’t have any friends to call his own, he makes the items of the room his friends…Sink, Meltedy Spoon, Eggsnake (a long train of eggshells), and Plant.  Now that Jack is older, Ma tells him that there is an “Outside” he never knew, and they make plans for a grueling-on-the-reader escape.  Split into five sections with two distinct parts, Room is the most unique book to come along in some time.

Room’s writing is extraordinary and extremely original.  Making Jack the narrator, who doesn’t know anything about “Outside”, makes the novel less disturbing to the reader.  Some reviewers have found Donoghue's writing in Jack's voice “annoying”, specifically with the use of multiple proper nouns.  However, my thoughts are that it had to be this way.  Donoghue imbues innocence onto Jack and in so doing, inspires the reader to want to get him and his Ma out of that room in any way possible. 

Read through the many pages of gushing blurbs in the front of the novel.  Every one is true.  Room is highly original and both heartbreaking and inspiring at different times.