September 10, 2010

Room - Emma Donoghue


Room is a novel that has been receiving a lot of praise and interest lately - not least because it has been short listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize.

The premise of the book is definitely intriguing - a 5 year old boy, Jack, and his mother (Ma) are imprisoned in a small room that measures eleven feet by eleven feet - it is the only world and life that Jack has ever known and his language and ideas demonstrate this;

We have a pretty busy morning, First we undo Pirate Ship that we made last week and turn it into Tank. Balloon is the driver, she used to be as big as Ma's head and pink and fat, now she's small like my fist only red and wrinkly. We only blow up one when it's the first of a month, so we can't make Balloon a sister till it's April. Ma plays with Tank too but not as long. She gets sick of things fast, it's from being an adult.

Monday is laundry day, we get into Bath with socks, underwears, my gray pants that ketchup squirted on, the sheets and dish towels, and we squish all the dirt out. Ma hots Thermostat way up for the drying, she pulls Clothes Horse out from beside Door and stands him open and I tell him to be strong.

Donoghue has done an amazing job of creating and portraying Jack's voice and his world - I believed in the existence of this child and his narrow view of what the world is.

The book is unbelievably powerful and affecting - how could it not be when it is written so well? I was captured by it but at the same time annoyed by it! I believed in Jack's voice and his story but it was actually Ma that I wanted to hear more from - maybe because I am an adult with no children of my own it was the adult voice that I wanted to hear more of in the story?? The book certainly does focus on the experiences of Ma too - but is always through Jack's eyes, voice and language. This certainly doesn't take away from the brilliance of the book - I guess my reading focus just wanted the other side of the story more so I felt a little frustrated that this did not come through. Having said that though this is really my only (very personal and selfish!) critique of the book - it is an amazing story that is deserving of all the positive attention it has been receiving.

16 comments:

Jessica said...

haha its funny because in my review I said I was very thankful they didnt tell any part of it from the mothers point of view. Loved it also

farmlanebooks said...

I was really pleased that it wasn't written from Ma's point of view - I found the child's voice far more powerful. This was confirmed by reading Forgetting Zoe, which is a very well written book written from the POV of the kidnapper and his victim. I'll write a review soon, but if you think you'd prefer the adult voice then perhaps it is the book for you?

Susi (The Book Affair) said...

Ok, that's it. So many people recommending the book. I have now ordered it and shall read it as soon as it gets here. I'd like to take part in the discussion. ;)

Elise said...

I loved this book!! It was so chilling!! I agree with the other comments, I actually preferred not hearing from Ma, I think it made the book more powerful. Loved your review Karen :)

Nikki-ann said...

I've heard a lot about this book over the last couple of weeks. I think it's one I'll be picking up at some point :)

nomadreader said...

I loved this one too! I think part of its brilliance was not hearing from Ma directly. With Jack's voice, I got her side of the story too, even if Jack didn't.

Karen said...

Hi Jessica - It sounds like I am very much in the minority on this one!

Hi Jackie - Thanks for the tip. I think I might take a break from the whole kidnapping/hostage reading area at the moment but I will remember that title for future reference.

Hi Susi - I hope you enjoy the reading experience!

Hi Elise - I totally agree that not hearing from Ma made the book more powerful - I just can't help wanting to hear from her at the same time!!

Hi Nikki-Ann - It's definitely one of the books of the moment that a lot of people seem to be getting on board with.

Hi nomadreader - That is so true - Jack was a wonderful advocate for Ma.

The Book Whisperer said...

I absolutely loved this book too - it's certainly one that will stay with me for a long time I think. Glad you enjoyed it too :)

Karen said...

Hi The Book Whisperer - Yep, this one is definitely a stayer!

Mystica said...

I did not realize that it was written from the child's perspective. Must be really different and interesting.

Karen said...

Hi Mystica - it it a great idea for a novel - really interesting and draws you in.

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