Friday, November 5, 2010

An Interesting, Albeit Freaky, Book

Yesterday, I finished reading Room, by Emma Donoghue.  I first ordered it through the library system in July, when I learned that it had made the longlist for the Man Booker Prize.  It's a good thing I ordered it at that point, because by the time it made the six-book short list a couple of months later, this book had been requested by over 200 people.  Today, there are 262 people on the library wait list to read the book.

Room is certainly one of the most unique books I've ear read.  I was captivated, albeit it in a rather sick way, from the very beginning.  For those of you who haven't heard of this book, the book is written from the perspective of a very intelligent, though very unique, five-year-old boy.  The boy was born to a woman who, at around the age of twenty, was kidnapped by some sicko and trapped for seven years (yes, years) in a small shed...aka the room.  The room has no windows other than a skylight in the ceiling; and a door than can only be opened by him.  They are entirely at the mercy of their captor to provide them with food and water and other basic necessities of life.  The little boy has no idea that a world exists outside of the room; what he does know of outside is based on his watching of television, and he believes that to be a complete fabrication of life.  Reality, for him, is inside that small space.

This much you could read from the inside flap of the book, no doubt, but I won't talk about what else happens.  I will say that I found the second half of the book much easier to read than the first half, and thought that the book was fascinating: both from a psychological perspective, as well as because it's written as if it's the little boy speaking.

Hard though it was to read, there's no doubt it kept me engaged from the first page to the last.  Though part of me didn't want to keep reading, it's the kind of book that I knew would never leave me unless I read it to the end.  And I'm glad I did finish it.

So I'm not sure whether it's a book I can actually recommend, because there's no doubt it's a disturbing theme; but wow - it certainly is unlike anything else you'll likely ever read.


  1. Ok, we either keep reading the same books, or having the same ones on our "to-read" lists. Our book club discussed "Room" just this week - I really, really liked it. More than one in our little book club group ended up staying up very, very late through the middle section because we couldn't put it down.

    Despite the subject matter, I found the book charming and lovely in so many ways. And also honest - the way the characters developed and interacted and coped.

    Can you believe, though, that I knew about but FORGOT to head over to Chapters to hear the author (who is local to me) read and do signings????? I am so annoyed with of our group went, and has her copy signed now. Crummy. Maybe I'll run into the author at the grocery store or something.

  2. Thanks for the review, Ruth. I have heard of the "Room" before. I'm sold!