Author: Emma Donoghue
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: September 13, 2010
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
I read this book as part of August’s book club pick at my local library. It wasn’t an easy read, or one that I would usually put myself through. I know that it was going to be a difficult read, but didn’t realize how much until I started it and got into the rest of the chapters.
“TV is Wonder Pets!, pretty fuzzy, Ma keeps moving Bunny but he doesn’t sharpen them up much. I make a bow on his wire ear with the purple ribbon. I wish it was Backyardigans, I haven’t met them in ages. Sundaytreat’s not here yet because Old Nick didn’t come last night, actually that was the best bit of my birthday. What we asked is not very exciting anyway, new pants because my black ones have holes instead of knees.”
It was told from the perspective of Jack, the little boy in the story and not his mother, which gives a unique take on what is happening to the both of them. It was interesting reading about Jack and how he saw the world, his innocence in all of that, being born in that environment and living his life to the fullest (at least in his eyes). It didn’t make things any easier to imagine, if anything my heart ached even more.
“You ready?’ says Officer Oh. It’s me her eyes are on. I shut mine and pretend it’s Ma I’m talking to, that makes me brave. ‘We did a trick,’ I say very slow, ‘me and Ma, we were pretending I was sick and then I was dead but really I’ll unwrap myself and jump out of the truck, only I was meant to jump at the first slowing down but I didn’t manage.”
This was a story that is heartbreaking, but half of it is even more as they both have to adjust to life outside of that padded shed that they’ve known for the past several years. His ma takes it really hard after expecting to find some sort of peace and closure once she was able to escape from that small room that suffocated her, but sadly she just felt even more disconnected from the outside world.
“I don’t know what’s– Then I see Ma’s pill bottles open on the table, they look mostly empty. Never more than two, that’s the rule, how could they be mostly empty, where did the pills go? Noreen’s pressing on the side of Ma’s throat and saying her other name and ‘Can you hear me? Can you hear me?’ But I don’t think Ma can hear, I don’t think she can see. I shout, ‘Bad idea bad idea bad idea.”
Even though this was a well written story within these pages, and a sweet character in Jack that made me even more emotional than I expected to be, it’s not a novel I can really read again. I might later down the line, but I can’t see it happening any time soon. There was just so much that went on and I understand it’s how the book was meant to be, just not a type of book or story I would read often or start reading more of.