Tuesday, July 24, 2012


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I don't really know how to review this book, so lets just start by saying that this book left me FEELING ALL THE EMOTIONS!  I mean it people, I cried, I cheered, I wanted to punch some of the characters in the face, I felt inspired by motherly love, and in awe of this brave little boy, and frustrated, and amused, and totally heartbroken, and then impressed that this talented author could so astutely tell this story even though she hadn't lived it.  I felt all these things in a very quick and easy 342 pages, so after I reached the back cover I had to digest this book like I have never done with any other novel, and I couldn't figure out why {yes the story was disturbing but I am rarely shocked or bothered}.  Emma Donoghue knows how to reach down into your emotional well and pump it dry.  Maybe it was the content {think Jaycee Dugard}, though we hear stories of this sort all the time on the nightly news {sadly}.  Or maybe it was the fact that this emotional roller-coaster was through the eyes of a 5 year old boy named Jack, or maybe now that I am a mother I could understand the deep love Jack's mother had for him and I could put myself in her shoes {or more than likely it was the whole package}.  Whatever the reason for my uneasy feeling and long digestion period to this book I came to a couple conclusions.  The story was unbelievably well written, and though the topic was a rough one to read, I think Room was a story that needed to be told.   

So as I said before, this book was written through the eyes of a very special little boy named Jack.  Jack is blissfully unaware that there is anything out of the ordinary with his life.  He lives in Room {everything in Jack's life while he is in captivity is a proper noun by the way}, he has his mother to himself 24/7, he has food, he has a very scheduled life that includes learning, and playing, he is happy and content.  Until one day he sees a jet stream out of the only window to the outside world {a skylight}, and as his Mom tries to explain what he is seeing she realizes that they really need to try and get out of their captivity, Jack is just getting too old and she can't pretend that their captivity in normal any longer.  So Jack's Mom starts to plan their escape...  

The first half of this book is all about life in Room.  The second half of this book is about life outside of Room.  Could you imagine living your entire life in an 11x11 space, always thinking that it's normal, not knowing there is anything else out there, only to be thrust into society, with loud noises, big wide open spaces, bright sunlight, temperature changes, etc.?  It would be a little like being born and remembering every detail.  The way Donoghue writes this story through Jack's eyes, you feel his confusion, and his pain, and emotions.  It really is heartbreaking.  The worst part is that as he is getting acclimated to this new big, bright, loud, world, the other characters think that he should just be able to jump into life with two feet, they don't realize that he has all the anxiety and fear.  I just wanted to strangle these characters, scream at them for not understanding, because they weren't in Room with Jack; and I {as the reader} was!!!  

The book can be discussed to death from a psychological point of view, from a mothers point of view, from just a casual readers point of view, and because of that it would be an interesting discussion for a book club or maybe even a high school/collage level psych class.  The topic was fascinating to say the least, and the point of view was unique.  I would recommend reading this when you want something of substance.  The writing was beautiful and rich but the topic was grim.  This is going into my rare 5 Star rating, one of the best books I have come across in a long time.

RATING: 5 Stars

3 more reviews on this book:

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
{Purchased on Amazon.com for my Kindle}
Pages 342

If you liked Room by Emma Donoghue you might also enjoy Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Foer.