December 30, 2013

Room by Emma Donoghue

Ok, so I had heard bits about this book before actually reading it.  That, combined with the title, made me have a fair guess as to what it was about.  What I didn't expect though, was for it to be narrated through the child's eyes.

Jack knows about Room.  His mother is there, they eat there, they sleep there and they do everything in Room.  Sometimes a man brings them things, Jack is not to be around when this happens.  And  he knows that sometimes his mom goes away in her head and doesn't enjoy Room as much as he does.  In fact, he is quite disturbed when she mentions leaving Room as there shouldn't be anything Outside that isn't already in Room or TV. 

Obviously Jack is pretty oblivious to his surroundings and how limited they are.  That's how his mom chose to raise him and keep him safe.  So watching him discover the Outside is like seeing a child grow up from the beginning, only with more intelligence than an infant normally has.  And it is disturbing.  And his mother, well she's definitely a sympathetic character.  In fact, I sympathized with her more than she probably even needed as I just wanted her to be able to take a break from her kid and his incessant questions.  It's commendable that she stayed sane with everything that was going on. 

I found the story to be too slow in the beginning and too fast in the end.  It just didn't seem very realistic on its timeline, especially in the second half.  And some of the things that the characters did, well I would have thought there'd be a lot more security and restrictions than there was.  But then again I have never personally been through an ordeal like the one in Room so it's hard to say what actually happens aside from the clips one hears on the news.  I wasn't very fond of Jack being the narrator.  I know it's a "novel" way of writing the book and understanding what's going on.  But like a child, Jack rambles quite a bit about details I just don't care about.  And after several chapters of it I found those details to be tiring.   There was so much that wasn't included in the book because it was from a child's point of view as well.  At the very least I would have liked to have seen it bounce between Jack's point of view and his mothers.  To fill in those gaps.

But it is what it is and while Room is unique, I don't think that it's fantastic.  It takes a sad topic, puts a different spin on it, and makes for a quick read on a subject that is more serious in nature.

Copyright 2010
321 pages

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