Sunday, July 12, 2020

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

In Room, a five-year-old boy and his mother are held captive in an 11 x 11 foot room. 

A few years ago, I walked into my local bookstore. 

The proprietor greeted me--book in hand. "Leanne, you have to read Room."

"What's it about?"

"A mother and her son are held captive in an eleven-by-eleven foot space." Was all I heard her say.

And all I could think was:  How depressing. Do I really need to feed my brain something so heavy?

But I value her opinion. So brought Room home. 

For two years the book haunted me until I finally gave in. I took the book off the shelf, flipped it open and read the first page. 

And what I thought was:  The story is told by a five-year-old boy? What an original narrator. Maybe I should just read the book simply to discover how/if Emma Donoghue pulls it off. 

I tried to keep reading but...

All I could think was:  What if something happens to the little boy? I don't want to read about the victimization of a child. 

Then, one day, curiosity won. I dived back in. I learnt that Jack isn't a victim. And even though hero and survivor are adjectives I would use to describe him I learnt that he wouldn't claim them. Room to me symbolizes fear and confinement--Room to him symbolizes a cozy home, thanks to his courageous mother.  

As I write this I have ten pages left to read--and I don't want to leave Jack. I feel a deep connection to him. He has made me laugh out loud; he has brought me to tears. 

Yes, it is a story about a mother and son confined in a small space. But, oh, it's so much more than that.

Questions I asked myself as I read:  What's my Room? What's my Outside? Why? How can I break free and overcome?

Published by HarperCollins Canada
Published in 2010

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