Thursday, August 26, 2010

110 - Room; Emma Donoghue



  
















ROOM is the book everyone seems to be talking or blogging about lately, so I had to see what all the hype was about.  Here's the story -- Jack is the narrator of this story, and he has just turned five. He and Ma live in "Room", a 11' x 11' foot converted shed with a skylight.  Jack was born in "Room" and has never seen the outside world, except through the skylight overhead.  You see, Ma was kidnapped by sick in the head, Old Nick, seven years earlier and has been held prisoner ever since.

Jack is a bright, inquisitive chatterbox. He sleeps with his Ma in bed, but when Old Nick comes for a visit, he hides in the wardrobe, and "counts the creeks on the mattress".  Ma keeps Jack busy most of the day reading to him, teaching him language games, and watching the television that Nick has provided for them. On Sundays, they get to request special treats.

On Jack's 5th birthday Ma begins to educate him about the outside world he has never known except from what he has seen on television. Little by little she is teaching Jack what he will need to do, if they are ever to escape. She makes him understand that he is the one who will have to trick Old Nick. Neither Ma nor Jack is truly prepared for what life on the outside will be like for them.

MY THOUGHTS - I liked this book a lot.  I generally enjoy children as narrators, but for some reason I had a tough time with the dialogue in the first (50) pages of this book.  Finally, I was able to go with the flow, and enjoy the rest of the story.  What made this novel work for me was the strong mother-child bond, despite the horrific circumstance. Even when Ma was so depressed she couldn't get out of bed, she did what she needed to do for her son.  I don't want to give any spoilers, even though most of you already know what happens, since the book was based on a true story which took place in Austria involving Elizabeth Fritzl.  I did find two parts of this story unrealistic; both occurred in the second half of the book.  Overall, I think the author wrote a terrific story: imaginative, touching, funny and sad. This story is likely to appeal to most readers.  Recommended

 Rating 4.5/5 Stars
Review Copy
9/13/2010 -  Little Brown and Co

31 comments:

  1. This was featured at the Editor's Buzz at BEA and it sounded so good. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it so much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jack's "voice" and outlook was won me over completely in this book. I did have difficulty, like you, getting into his POV, but that lasted for the first chapter only. *** SPOILER *** I'm glad, though, that this book did not follow the Fritzl story as it was not an incestuous relationship nor was Jack abused in any way. Emma Donoghue is a consistently great writer, I think as everything I've ever read of hers is well done and riveting. Great review, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Curiously, although I have heard a lot of buzz about this book, I have never read far enough to find out what the book was about. Definitely piques my interest.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm really glad you liked this one because I have been DYING to read it! It is at the very top of my to-read list.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is one I definitely want to read.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am definitely reading this one. Did you read her book Slammerkin?I really liked it. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh geez, not only have I never watched Oprah, but I haven't heard the scuttlebut on this book. Really, I need to get out of the corporate office timesuck and read around a lot more!
    Not sure I can read this book - actually, I wouldn't mind a spoiler so I wouldn't get all tense and claustrophobic.
    (yeah, I'll read it.)
    Hope all is well, there by the sea!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow! Really great review, Diane. To be honest, I hadn't heard much about this book before but it sounds incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have loved all her books so far, I'll have to check this one out.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really loved this one too. I agree about the unrealistic aspects (if we are
    talking about the same things) but I still liked it

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks. I do not about the story this is based on. I will definitely find out more.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I featured this book as a WoW a months or so ago. My interest and anticipation are certainly building as I read everyone's reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Glad you enjoyed it, Diane!

    yes, the narrative was off-putting to begin with as we had to orientate ourselves with Jack's unique perspective of the world (the capitalisation of Bed, Table, Skylight etc irritated the grammar nazi in me!)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I read this last week and thought it was wonderful, although I also had a hard time with the narration in the beginning. I thought Jack was just the best character though. Wise and yet so innocent. Great review, I am glad you liked it!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, this sounds good. Have you read Still Missing? Similar story but from the perspective of the girl kidnapped...and she wasn't in captivity as long as this. Thanks for the introduction!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I must be living in a box because I've never heard of this one until your review! Sounds interesting!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. *gnashing teeth* I am torn. I had planned to go on a real and true buying ban for the whole month of September and stick to tbr books only... BUT Room comes out in Sept! I think I may have to hold off on the ban. This book sounds too good :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm so intrigued by this book and can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  19. So glad you liked this one! I really liked it too! Have you read my review?

    -Amy
    Life by Candlelight

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have heard so much about "Room." I would love to read it. It seems like a story that would stay with you and make you think. Thanks for a good rev

    ReplyDelete
  21. I found it hard to appreciate for the first 50 pages too. I was actually about half way through the book before I fell in love with it. I'm pleased that you enjoyed it in the end. I think this will be my favourite book of 2010!

    ReplyDelete
  22. This book has been getting fabulous reviews - I will have to pick it up soon!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I've been hearing a lot about this book, but I never had the chance to check it out yet. This one looks interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Everytime I see this book reviewed, I get intrigued all over again. I think it is time to officially put it on my wish list.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I think it's going to be my next read.

    ReplyDelete
  26. This was a hot title at BEA, and I wasn't sure about it at the time. Glad to hear you liked it, so I'll keep it in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I liked this book, but I don't think I LOVED it the way other people did. I was seriously disturbed throughout the whole read and I don't think I ever got over that, completely.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I don't know about the true story (I don't think), but the book does intrigue me.

    ReplyDelete
  29. All right. This is so going into my wish list. I like!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have an ARC of this for review and am really looking forward to it; I think that it will be a fine read. Thanks for the review!

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)