Monday, November 15, 2010

Room: A Novel

I finished reading "Room: A Novel" by Emma Donoghue this weekend. The novel's disturbing subject is made a little less so by the writer's intriguing decision to write the book from the perspective of the 5-year old main character. "Room" tells the story of Jack, a just-turned 5-year old who has lived his entire life with his mom in one 11x11 room. To Jack, Room holds everything he needs and loves, his mom, his books, his TV, Wardrobe, and his beloved Rug, where he was born. To his mother, Room is the prison she's been held in for the seven years since the time of her kidnapping by Old Nick. Thanks to Jack's bravery and his mom's ingenuity they undertake a daring plan for escape, which finally breaks them free of their prison and exposes Jack to a world he didn't know existed.

While the book covers a dark subject matter, it is not depressing or gloomy. Jack's voice of innocence and wonder brings light and hope to what could otherwise be a depressing read. The relationship between mother and son is also beautifully detailed throughout the book. From mom's ingenuity in making toys for her son out of regular household items, like a snake from threaded together egg shells, or protecting her son from their limitations and her own sense of entrapment by helping Jack believe that Room was their safe world and everything beyond the door was outer space or what he saw on TV make-believe. The novel lovingly details the remarkable lengths to which a mother's love will go in an effort to protect her child. A worthwhile and at times moving read.