Sometimes I read a novel that’s so good I want to tell everyone to read it. Room by Emma Donoghue is one of those books.
Room was a buzz book last year. It won the 2010 Booker Prize and received attention for it topical subject matter. The story is narrated by Jack, a five-year old boy, whose mother was kidnapped at age 19. For the past seven years Ma has been held hostage in an eleven foot square room. Jack was born in Room, as he calls it. He believes there is no real world outside of Room. All he knows is TV, which he thinks is a fantasy land showing various planets, such as the hospital planet and assorted cartoon planets.
Jack’s view of everything is unique. I had to pay close attention to always understand what he was talking about. The novel grabbed me from the start and moved along at a fast pace, thanks to an abundance of dialogue, initially between Jack and Ma and later between Jack and the people he encounters Outside. Jack’s escape from room is as gripping as a thriller.
My only quibbles were occasional words or thoughts of Jack that didn’t quite ring true for me, even coming from a child raised in his unusual situation. I felt them the author’s devices to make a point. These occasions were rare, it would be impossible for any author dealing with this material to nail every word for every reader and these moments didn’t detract from my appreciation of the book.
Despite being creepy at times, Room is an enjoyable read that will stick with me a long time.