Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Room: A Novel
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another
. -Summary taken from Goodreads

I heard so much about this book and I was so intrigued by the concept that I couldn't wait to pick it up. I have to admit though that I got extremely frustrated in the beginning with the language of the book. It's told from the perspective of a 5 year old little boy who has spent his entire life locked in a room with his mother. My problem was the way everything, and I mean everything, is referred to as a proper noun. That almost drove me crazy. I have 3 kids, one of which is actually 5 years old right now and they never spoke like that. I hate baby talk and speak to my kids as grown-up and so they've always spoken like adults (within reason of course). In the story, Jack's Ma speaks to him like a grown up as well and he's incredibly well-spoken as a result with an incredibly vocabulary and I think that just served to make the proper noun speak even more annoying.

I managed to plug through and I was glad for it. After awhile, I didn't notice it as much and was able to really enjoy the story. I thought it was well done and considering the sinister nature of their imprisonment, the book never delves into anything too graphic. The disturbing details are there, just cleverly hidden between the lines. I found it a fairly accurate portrayal of the way kids see the world. The way nothing can exist for real unless it's right in front of their faces. I truly felt for Jack as he had a hard time adjusting to the big, wide, world after being sheltered for so long.

I was touched by the way Ma threw her whole self  into making that room as normal a world for Jack as she could. However, there's a moment near the end when Ma does something that I felt was completely out of character for her and it bothered me a bit.

Other than those few small irks, I felt it was a lovely little story of survival, and the love between a mother and child overcoming everything.


The Book Gatherer said...

I've heard A LOT about this book as well so I'm really intrigued to read it. Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

Great review! I attempted this book both print and audio and just could not do it. I hate when a book is so popular and I don't like it. Makes me feel like a reading failure. LOL

che said...

I've read so many mixed reviews for this book.I liked yours though. I think I will give it a read soon.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I loved this book but like you it took me a bit to get used to Jack's narration. Great review!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the unusual language of this book!

ComaCalm's Corner

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Very interesting about the proper nouns. I've heard a lot about this book and I may give it a try. Fab review!

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