Sunday, September 5, 2010

Room by Emma Donoghue

I literally just finished reading this book and I'm left nearly speechless by it. Wow, what a powerful, beautiful and haunting book. Room takes us inside the mind of Jack, a young boy who has just turned five who has never known the outside world. In fact, he's never known that it's actually existed. The reason being, he's been raised in an 11 square foot room for his five years of life.

The story is told from his point of view and in the language of a five year old who's been raised away from the modern world. Jack's mother was kidnapped at 19 years of age and after being raped, gave birth to him inside of the soundproof cell that they now both live in. But it's the only home Jack has ever known. Until he's freed from it and he must adapt to the outside world. As you can imagine, this poses a LOT of issues and Emma Donoghue handles them so very very well. I just wanted to hug Donoghue for writing this book. I really did. I know that Jack's mom's thoughts are not necessarily Donoghue's own, but I loved Jack's mom so much. The way she raised him and the bond between the two considering the horrific circumstances they were given. And her attitude after getting out of was perfect. She's not a superheroine. And Donoghue could've done that if she wanted to, but instead she chose to make her human...chose to make her real. The genius of this novel comes in the narration itself. In Jack. Beautiful Jack. I haven't loved a child character in literature this much since Simon in Keri Hulme's The Bone People. And it's been about 8 years since I've read that book. You would think it would be hard to read a novel written from the mind of a 5 year old who's almost created his own language, but it's not at all. It's actually quite beautiful. It's humorous at times, heartwarming at times....heartbreaking at times. And Donoghue writes it expertly, never falling out of character...always staying in that viewpoint, yet managing to tell a complete story. I see this book staying with me for a long time. I see it haunting my mind for days on end, but not necessarily in a bad way. Yes there are things in here that are terrifying, but the story as a whole is quite a beautiful thing. I wish there were more adventures with Jack and his mother. I wish I could follow them further in their lives. But I think the story was left perfectly where it was. And you'll just have to read it to see where that is ;)

No comments: