Monday, October 1, 2012
little, brown & co.
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Because the book is told completely from Jack's perspective at first it was hard for me to get into the rhythm of the story. The first few paragraphs I thought 'this sucks' and considered putting off reading Room again. But I stuck with it and am so glad I did. The book is quick, I read it in about 4 hours, but it is mesmerizing.
Jack is logical in a way that only a child can be. Somehow though you get a perfect sense of everything that's happening, how he's feeling, how Ma is feeling even though we're never privy to the thoughts in her mind. She's fiercely protective of her child while at the same time needing him to be away so she can heal. He doesn't have the same abhorrence to Room because he was born there. He knows nothing else and Ma always made him feel safe and loved. Now in this huge Outside everything is different and there are so many 'hes and shes'.
My favorite character surprisingly was Steppa. He understood Jack in a way that Jack's grandmother and Ma couldn't. He didn't flutter around him and worry, but he didn't dismiss fears that Jack couldn't even express.
Emma Donoghue's writing is brilliant. Part of me wishes she would write the story from Ma's perspective, but then I think not. It was perfect the way it is. There's nothing more we need to know.