Sunday, September 26, 2010

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room is on the short list for the Man Booker Prize which will be announced on October 12. I usually have trouble with the books nominated for the Booker as a lot of the time they seem completely inaccessible, although last year I read and loved two of the nominated books, The Children's Book and The Little Stranger. I can't say I loved Room, but it was definitely worth reading.
Ma was 19 when she was kidnapped and imprisoned by Old Nick. It's seven years later and she is surviving in an 11 x 11 room with her five-year-old son Jack. The novel is told from Jack's unique viewpoint, and we learn of their daily routines and efforts to break up the day and live a fulfilling existence. Jack sleeps in the wardrobe, as Ma doesn't want Old Nick having any interactions with her son. When Ma learns that Old Nick has been laid off she fears that he'll lose his house and will have to dispose of his captives. She proceeds to hatch an escape plan and uses Jack to rescue them. The last 2/3 of the novel depict their struggles living in the world and how they each have to find their own way of coping with their new lives. I loved the character of Jack and was constantly tickled by his observations. His interactions with his well-meaning relatives were painful and frustrating to read about, but his grandma was the key for him in learning to navigate "outside". Ma's struggles mainly take place off-stage, but we share Jack's fears for her and his longing to be reunited. Room is a cleverly written novel about a very serious subject. Readers will find Jack to be a fantastic narrator.

Other Reviews:
Farm Lane Books Blog
Savidge Reads

No comments:

Post a Comment