Friday, 13 May 2016

Room - Emma Donoghue

"Jack. He'd never give us a phone, or a window. Ma takes my thumbs and squeezes them. "We're like people in a book, and he won't let anybody else read it."

I wanted to read Room because of the movie that came out last year - I know I know, this happens to me a lot. Anyway, I picked it up on the Kindle and read it in the midst of stressing about finals. Good call? Mayhaps.

Room is the story about a boy. Not a coming of age -one, but the story of a five-year old boy that has lived his entire life in a room with his mother, without knowing that a world exists outside of it. The mother was kidnapped when she was nineteen, and treated like a well-kept prisoner since.

Room poses many interesting questions. Is Jack better off not knowing the truth? He obviously grows up a bit wonky, but how was the mother supposed to tell him that there is a world that he can't have? The mother says it herself multiple times - she did the best she could. She provided the child with the most normal childhood one could have while stuck within the same four walls. Should she have convinced the captor to send him away as a baby? Of course she should have, but she was stolen everything else she had. Can you really ask a person to give up their whole entire world? The mother is the personification of altruism and selfishness at the same time, and it really works.

The story was very interesting, because while it felt unreal, rationally speaking, this happens to actual people. The narrative makes it even more intriguing, because the whole book was from Jack's point of view. He doesn't understand what's happening most of the time, but that doesn't mean that he can't describe the things going on around him. Jack is there to witness some disturbing things that I wouldn't even want to hear in detail, and it's awful in a very interesting way. He also grows a lot during the course of the story, mostly because the world needs him to. 

Honestly, Jack got on my nerves a lot. Not necessarily in a bad way, but in the way a five-year old boy usually does. Also, I related to the mother a lot - she was near my age when she was captured - and my heart broke for her every time something bad came her way. That happened a lot, too.

Altogether, Room is a good book. Not necessarily one I would read again right now (more like 20 years from now, maybe) but it's one I will definitely remember for the longest time. It's real and awful and hopeful, and it really captures the beauty of life, and the wonder of discovering something for the first time.

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