Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Room, by Emma Donoghue

Room: A NovelTo 5 year old Jack, all he knows is Room.  It is where he was born, and where he has been every day since.  But what he knows as Room, his whole world, is actually an 11 foot by 11 foot storage shed in the backyard of a man who captured Ma, Jack's mother, 7 years ago.  Knowing they might always be captive, Ma teaches Jack that Room is the only thing that is real, and what they see on TV is pretend.  Shortly after his 5th birthday, Ma decides to start telling Jack the truth, and try to find a way to escape.  Will the ever get out of Room?  And what awaits them Outside?

This book is stunning.  Told from the point of view of young Jack, the first bit is somewhat confusing, until the reader catches on to what Jack's reality is, and the sometimes confusing words and phrases he uses to describe the only world he knows.  But immediately, you love Jack, your heart aches for Jack and Ma, and pray desperately that they escape.

I think the thing I found most heartbreaking, while reading this, was knowing that situations like this actually occur.  As I talked about in my review of Up From the Blue, we rarely hear these stories, and even more rarely do we hear them as told by the children.  While this is a work of fiction, only a few internet searches, or viewings of the news can tell you these things happen.

The story is one of amazing imagination.  Donoghue did a fantastic job in creating the world of Room, and explaining it in a way that is not only convincing as a child's point of view, but one that places the reader right there in Room with Jack and Ma.  I would love to see where Jack is in ten years.

A touring review copy of this book was made available courtesy of Crazy Book Tours.