Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

I picked up this book randomly in Mid Valley's MPH Bookstore January this year but thought nothing much of it. Only I liked how the cover looks like: A colourful childlike writing in crayon against a white background. So much for not judging a book by its cover.

I brought it over to Australia, one of the few books that I collected so I don't buy any more when I'm here. Harhar, did that work out well! I thought I was done with reading for at least another month after having to read four (difficult) books for English this semester. But now that it's the Winter holidays, there's not much more that I want to do than to curl up in bed with my quilt around me with something to pass the time.

Yesterday, the boy and I spent the entire day in bed, reading. Him with his book about assassins and I'm not quite sure what else, me and my Room. And let's just say that the book is true to Boston Globe's praise on the front cover - 'Impossible to put down ... A riveting, powerful novel ... Room is, hands down, one of the best books of the year.'

This gripping story, told by 5-year-old Jack is horrific but through the innocence and naivety of a child, made somewhat bearable. To Jack, Room is where he was born, the only space he has ever known but for his Ma, it is her eleven-by-eleven-foot prison where she has been held captive by Old Nick for seven years. Jack has never been Outside, his whole life was built in this square shed with his Ma. The only view of Outside is through Skylight which lets in sunlight ('God's face') in the mornings and moonlight in the nighttime.

One day, when Jack is five and two days, his Ma tells him something: That Outside exists and there are millions and millions of people and things that he cannot imagine are real, like ice-cream. Jack has only lived his life with his Ma as company and TV to pass the time, and for this little boy, he finds it hard to grasp the fact that there are other people besides just the two of them (And Old Nick, but he might be 'half-TV') and things outside of Room.

That becomes the beginning of a wild adventure for the pair. Jack's curiosity and questions about the Outside and everything in it leaves you feeling different about the world. We see the furious love of a mother who would do anything to protect her child, and we see a child who has been trapped for so long that strangeness becomes his normal (Like sleeping in Wardrobe). Having to adjust to a world suddenly too big and 'with so many rules', this story is about little Prince JackerJack and Ma starting all over again.

Here is a trailer that you MUST watch! It sums the story perfectly and already makes me want to cry:

Read other reviews here!

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