This book has been sitting on my shelf for a number of months, staring at me, telling me to read it but I have always had other books lined up first. Finally, last week I didn’t have anything on my reading list so I grabbed the chance to delve into Room by Emma Donoghue.
The story is told in first person by five-year old Jack who lives in Room with his Ma. An interesting view I thought as today’s novels are often from the point of view of an adult. To see through the eyes of a child reminded me how innocent and pure the world can be at times. Simple things like an empty cardboard box can provide hours of entertainment to a child, to us it’s just a box, but to them it’s a house, a spaceship, anything they want it to be. We learn through the eyes of Jack that all there is in his world is his Ma and Room. To Jack outside the door is like outer space, he has never been outside Room. Donoghue writes Jacks voice perfectly I thought, missing out words here and there so when you read it out loud it sounds how a five-year old would speak. She doesn’t go over the top with it, very subtle and believable.
We quickly learn from young Jack that Ma was kidnapped when she was nineteen and has been forced to live in Room ever since, she is now twenty-seven. They are visited by her kidnapper Old Nick almost every night, Jack has to hide in the wardrobe as Ma doesn’t want Old Nick to look at him. There are parts in the book that were a little uncomfortable to read but it just brought home the raw truth of how cruel and twisted the world can be and that these things do happen, yet through the eyes of a child it is innocent and not fully understood as to why these things do happen.
Jack as a character has his moments where he made me smile but more often annoyed me because he doesn’t understand and comes across as selfish. But then again he is five years old and has only known life with his Ma and in Room. I feel for Ma as she has had her youth stolen from her and has developed a strong bond with her son doing everything she can to protect him. She has a slow transition throughout the novel and I thought that was interesting to see considering she was only a child herself when she was taken. She has been forced to grow up fast and be everything to her little boy.
Overall I enjoyed Room and would recommend it to readers. It made me teary and I really felt for the two main characters. It also reminded me how sinister the world is and that there are sick people out there who snatch people, taking away their lives by locking them up and keeping them all to themselves. It’s scary to think that these things happen right outside our front doors or even our back gardens and we don’t notice as we are all too wrapped up in our day-to-day lives. Scary thought, makes me shudder.
Next on my reading list is The Lost Symbol By Dan Brown.