Room by Emma Donoghue
If you could read about the confinement, escape, and rehabilitation of a women who was abducted at age 19, locked in an 11 x 11 shed for 7 years, and raised and protected her rape-conceived son who has never even looked out of a window, would you do it? Not me. If I had known what this book was really about, I don’t think I would even picked it up.
But . . . I didn’t read the book cover close enough, and by the time I realized what I was getting myself into I was engaged in the story too much to not find out how the story of Ma and Jack turns out.
The saving grace of Room is that it is told from the perspective and in the voice of innocent 5-year-old Jack, whose whole world literally consisted of “Room.” Because the author chose to write from Jacks perspective–even in his language–the reader is spared from much of the horror of the experience as Jack narrates his world inside of Room. Once freed, Jack’s first weeks of learning that the world is actually much bigger than he ever knew is almost as gut-wrenching as his captivity.
There are beautiful moments in the story, and Ma is an amazing women. Jack’s 5-year-old perspective was touching and at times (too) close to home for me with my own 5-year-old son. The themes of strength of the human spirit and the love of a mother an her child are woven powerfully throughout.
But I don’t feel uplifted by the story, I feel pulled down by the sadness. Ma protected Jack. No one protected Ma. Just knowing there are men with evil minds in the world is enough horror for me–I don’t want to read about it. So despite the unique story telling methods and the “we can overcome all” ending, I give Room 3 stars. The book is as good as it can be, it’s the content of the story that I didn’t enjoy.