I just returned from a week’s holiday – I managed to leave Anna Karenena by my bed, but luckily had a back-up book and having sped through that read the book my boyfriend bought along too!
Room by Emma Donoghue was enthusiastically recommended to me by the Librarians at school and I wasn’t disappointed.
The story is told entirely from the perspective of 5 year old Jack, who has been born and bought up within an 11foot square cell, which he knows as home.
It’s hard to explain without giving too much away, but essentially this is a story of the love between mother and son. It examines perceptions of freedom and how we look at the world: What we’ve got and what we haven’t and what really is the most important for survival – both physical and psychological.
Emma Donoghue has great skill in sustaining the voice of the 5 year old, which can be slightly irritating at times, but to great effect. Jack’s Ma becomes a very real character by the end of the book. The reader’s sympathy for her situation can at times be hard to grasp, seen as she is through the eyes of her adoring son. This is not a sentimental story.
A few years ago, I think this story would have seemed too fantastical to have any real punch, but with recent stories in the news of kidnap and captivity, this is a sharp and unusual perspective from the ‘inside’.
This book really got under my skin and I hope some of my friends will read it so I have someone to discuss it with!