Friday, October 8, 2010

Imagine life in an 11X11 room

Title: Room by Emma Donoghue
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
336 Pages
Genre:

Synopsis: To five year old Jack, Room is the world. It's where he was born, its where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. There are endless wonders that let loose Jack's imagination - the snake under Bed that he constructs out of eggshells, the imaginary world projected through the TV, the coziness of Wardrobe below Ma's clothes, where she tucks him in safely at night in case Old Nick comes.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held since she was nineteen - for seven years.  Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in that eleven by eleven foot space. But Jack's curiosity is building alongside her own desperation - and she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Review: Emma Donoghue has written a remarkable book.  Disturbing, uplifting and powerful, Room is a fabulous book about the power of a mothers love even in the most dire of circumstances.  Jack and his mother are prisoners but Jack doesn't understand that.  Room is all he has ever known.  His mother does everything she can to make sure that he stays healthy and his mind stays sharp as she tries to make his childhood seem as normal as possible.  Together Jack and his mother come up with games, exercises, stories and routine that help them pass the time.  But as Jack gets older his mother worries about him and knows that she needs to try to escape in order to give Jack the life he deserves.

Reminiscent of what happened to Jaycee Dugard, the woman who was abducted at age 11, held in a compound for 18 years and when she was finally discovered she had raised 2 children who were now 12 & 14. It is amazing the power of love and what a mother will do to protect her children.

Donoghue is brilliant in helping the reader put themselves in the shoes of a 5 year old boy whose only world has been an 11x11 room. Her descriptions of the world as seen through the eyes of Jack are brilliant and well thought out.  She does an amazing job of putting us in his shoes.  Even the scenes with Old Nick show how Jack's mother has protected him from the harsh reality of their situation.

4 comments:

  1. At first I was hesitant about this one, but I am now looking forward to picking it up. Thanks!

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  2. I have heard good things about this one. I'm just not sure if I can read it. But it sounds like the child doesn't suffer as much as the mother does. Maybe I'll take a chance. I'm trying to step out of my comfort zone.

    Heather

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  3. I've been interested in this book for a while, think I will put it on my 'to-read' list. It's been short-listed for the Booker prize here.

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  4. So many people are raving about this and I've been meaning to pick it up! I enjoyed reading your review and seeing what you had to say about it :)

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