Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Room (2010); Emma Donoghue

Room, a fictional novel by Emma Donoghue, is unlike any book I have ever read. Perhaps inspired by recent current events about children held captive for years in isolation, the novel explores this tragic phenomenon from the perspective of a five year old protagonist. Young Jack has spent the first five years of his life inside the four walls of a small shed protected by his devoted mother from Old Nick, the captor who impregnated her. Surprisingly, Jack has led a relatively contented upbringing in this sheltered world due to the resilience of his brave, unnamed mother. As he reaches his fifth birthday and becomes more curious about the outside world, his mother realizes these circumstances cannot continue and the plot becomes more compelling. She creates a plan for escape that will leave readers captivated and unable to stop reading until they learn the outcome of the characters' final fate. Donoghue used her own son for inspiration and Jack is a very realistic storyteller who infuses the magical prose of a child. As a mother, I was awed by the description of the strength of maternal love even in such extreme circumstances. The book has won numerous awards and is nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Award.

As a reader, I had heard many favorable reviews but was reluctant to delve into such troubling subject matter. A fellow voracious reader and great friend told me she read it in one sitting and was unable to sleep until she finished this book. I began reading and also felt compelled to read it uninterupted. This novel became a wild ride and I have not been so engrossed in a book in quite some time. If you are a lover of fiction, you will not be disappointed by Room and Ms. Donoghue deserves her accolades for such an unusual and extremely unique piece of literary art. Please leave some comments - I would love to discuss this amazing book with other readers!