Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Book #36

Room by Emma Donoghue

Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don’t have the key. Jack and Ma are prisoners. 
I was very much looking forward to reading this novel. Although the storyline is straight out of a modern-day newspaper, the narrative is very original, personal, and thought-provoking as the story is told by five year old Jack. He lives in the room with his mother, and the story of how he came to be there is harrowing. 

The way Jack narrates the novel is endearing. Many objects in the room are anthropomorphised, like Duvet and Wardrobe, and Jack shows us how adaptable a child's mind can be. Along with his mother, Jack has various rituals which must be done every day, and his mother has put lots of measures in place to protect him from the truth of what's really happening, and to raise him in a relatively normal way. This is reflected in Jack's narrative, and it sometimes feels as though they are living quite a comfortable life considering. I was never impacted with the severity of this situation due to the author's choice of narrator.

I did feel, however, that there was something lacking in the delivery of the story. It was a disturbing one, one which should have hit a nerve with me. I'm a very (some may say overly) emotional person, and I'm not a stranger to bursting into tears whilst reading. I didn't bat an eyelid with this one. I didn't care for any of the characters, not even Jack, and was irritated by each of them at least once (but usually more than once) throughout the novel. 

There's a lot more I'd like to say on this novel, however I'm struggling to think of anything without spoiling it. It's worth a read for the unique and unreliable narrator, however this format also has its flaws. I believe it's definitely one to throw out there; it's a "love it or hate it" novel. Please let me know if you've read it, and how you felt.

1 comment:

Jake said...

I was really dissapointed with this when I read it a few years ago.

I totally agree with you about how each of the characters were annoying at some point. The mum especially, I guess it makes sense that she'd be warped by the room and want to return to it but I felt it was handled really poorly and left her feeling really unappreciative rather than anything else..

I bought it because the plot sounded almost identical to a film I absolutly adore called "Bad Boy Bubby" and a book of that film sounded right up my alley.
In the end though it was just weak, and the fact that it felt almost like a cash in on the Joesph Fritzl case was almost offensive.