Friday, February 13, 2015

Review of Room by Emma Donoghue

Here's another review from my Goodreads. This time its about Room by Emma Donoghue.

How did Emma Donoghue do it? How did she write an entire novel from the first person POV of a five year old boy? Who'd never been outside? Because he was born to a woman who was locked in a garden shed for years by a man who kidnapped her? How did Ms. Donoghue do it and not write a book that was exhausting, heart-rending, and unreadable? I don't know, but I'll know something about writing when I figure it out. 

I think part of the magic of this book is that it is told by the child. His innocence and ignorance make the circumstances of the book bearable. We, the readers, aren't exposed to the mental anguish Jack's mother experiences because Jack is just telling us about the only world he has ever known. It's a world his mother has filled with magic and routine and love, a world in which she also manages to protect her child from his father, the man who kidnapped her when she was 19. Jack doesn't know that, of course. All he knows is that Dora the Explorer is his friend because she talks to him, and that green beans are his "enemy food." 

At five, Jack is beginning to ask the questions that will prevent his mother from maintaining the fiction of the room, the fiction that the world is 11' X 11', and that everything on TV is unreal. Five is the age when children go to Kindergarten, often the first time they leave their parents' care for the better part of the day. At five, Jack is exposed to the world in a much more dramatic way. 

I will figure out how you did this, Emma Donoghue.

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