Last night I finished reading “Room” by Emma Donoghue. Today I am sad that it is finished! I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
“Room” is such a unique story. It is written from the perspective of a five year old boy, Jack. Jack’s Ma was kidnapped when she was nineteen years old and kept in Old Nick’s backyard in a sound-proof shed with no windows (just Skylight). Old Nick would bring her supplies and one day, she became pregnant with his child.
Ma and Jack have a super-close bond (she still breastfeeds him) and Ma tries to make living in Room fun for Jack. They have so many simple little games and rituals that help them pass the time. Every family has “in” jokes and Donoghue captures that concept really well. Ma is conscious that Jack needs to learn and get exercise so she is very creative with their activities. Jack’s whole world is in Room and until he turned five, he believed that there was nothing else in the world (other than Old Nick). Ma hides Jack in Wardrobe during Old Nick’s night time visits so they never have any contact, but Jack hears all the sordid sounds of his visits.
Due to the lack of dental care, Ma’s teeth are in bad shape and she is in constant pain. She manages the pain with strong pain killers and this also helps to dull her thoughts and escape from her world of Room and little Jack.
Fearing that Old Nick may resort to killing them due to his recent unemployment, Ma decides that she and Jack need to make a plan of escape. Jack is afraid of escaping. He quite likes his life in Room with Table and Shelf and Wardrobe and Meltedy Spoon. It’s all he’s ever known.
I won’t spoil the story for you – because you HAVE to read this! Jack’s language is cute and funny, yet disturbing. Although this isn’t a true story, apparently Donoghue conceived the story after hearing about five-year-old Felix in the Fritzl case. The effects of isolating a human being from birth are extraordinary. It also showcases a parent-child relationship brilliantly.
“Room” by Emma Donoghue made me laugh, cry and it has cemented itself in my mind. I think about it during the day while I do other things. It is a book like no other.
You. Must. Read. It.