Books: Room by Emma Donoghue

It’s amazing. I am not kidding anyone. Read it. Read it NOW. 

Title: Room

Author: Emma Donoghue

Book Summary: The summary published with the book was very poignant; it reads, “To five-year-old Jack, Room is the world. It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where Jack is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. 

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

 Why you should read this?

  1. The cover. This is probably irrelevant, but still –I’ve always felt aesthetically pleasing covers indicate effort, which means the book’s content is worth an artistic effort. Or something. Certain books do not pertain to this. 
  2. The language. Emma Donoghue is speaking as a five-year-old –a little boy, who’s never had outside contact, who only knows our reality from a little television set, and somehow she makes it work. The dialog portrays innocence and curiosity that can only come from a young age, and yet as a reader you know what’s going on, even if Jack doesn’t. It enriches the experience by providing more grounds for empathy and emotional dissonance. Personally, I think this element of writing was what made Donoghue’s work stand out and become a Man Booker Finalist; character voices are so difficult to capture, especially ones that have (I suppose) very little in common to yourself as the author. 
  3. The plot. There might be other books out there that work on similar premises, but Room obviously stands out from the rest. The novel, divided into five parts (Presents, Unlying, Dying, After and Living), is well-paced and yet utterly gripping. It is, as Boston Globe reviews, “impossible to put down”. The chronological order of events also doesn’t hinder full exposition of the narratives; everything was linked back to each other in the end. [Obvs I can’t say much, because that would be a major spoiler.]
  4. The impact. I think what Room really leaves is an indelible mark on its readers, and that mark comes in several forms. The shift in perception, for one thing, isn’t so monumental, but it’s there: you kind of change your mindset after reading through the lenses of one who grew up in conditions vastly different from yours. It also made me wary, after learning of what brought Ma, and later Jack, into the room. What makes it so effective is its sense of realism. The events in the Room are entirely possible, given premises and effects in modern times. In a thousand parallel universes, each of us could have made the same decisions as Ma, because each of us could have been brought to the hands of Old Nick. 

Just read it. 

Length: Well, I’m not really sure. It took me two schooldays to read it. 

Price: Hmm. Around 300, I think? I can’t really remember. I magically lost the receipt in my box of random stuff. 

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