Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

by Emma Donoghue
Rating: 5 wine glasses

Seven years ago, a young college student was kidnapped walking across campus, locked up in a 11 by 11 ft room, rapped by her assailant and been held prisoner in that room ever since. Two years after being kidnapped, this woman got pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy. This book follows the life of this now five year old boy, Jack.

I am glad this book was chosen by my book club because it forced me to push through the slower parts in the first two sections. From the 1st page to the last page of this novel, my feelings toward this book did a complete 180.  

The first third of the book, I was frustrated with Jack and the way the book was narrated from his point of view. Unlike his mother, Jack has only known the confines of this room and he has no inkling that there is a whole another world beyond the locked door so his outlook on the room is completely bewildering at first glance. It was amazing what Jack could comprehend and yet how little he actually understood of his situation. The second third I was frustrated with the mother’s selfish behavior. The final third was bittersweet as Jack slowly learns to cope with his ever growing world and life outside of the room. I love  the strange but sweet interactions between "Steppa" & Jack and Grandma & Jack

Although the book is told through the eyes of a child the subject is tough to swallow. The book invokes such powerful emotions and reactions as I couldn’t help but relate it to the recent news story of those girls who were kidnapped and found in Ohio. The most frighten part is that this novel isn’t based in another country where you can close the book and wash your hands of it with a “that doesn’t happen here” mentality. This book tackles what those girls might have experienced when they were held captive and during the rehabilitation process after they escaped. Before reading this book, I never thought about what a person would have to mentally, physical and emotionally go through to assimilate back into the outside world after being kidnapped.

The Room is a riveting story about the power of mother’s love for her child and even more so the power of a child’s love for their mother. The ending brings the story to a full circle and provides hope that with time Jack and his mother will be able to recover from these unspeakable transgressions. I definitely would recommend this book, especially for a book club read. 

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