What I'm Reading: Room

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I stumbled upon this next book while browsing the shelves at Barnes & Noble with Jordan on date night. I had heard of it before, but it got stowed away in one of those back corners of my mind, and I more or less forget that I even knew about it. But when I finally picked it up and looked at the back cover, I knew I had to take this book home with me and dig into it once I finished Mockingjay (discussion coming later this week!).

So what book am I talking about? Emma Donoghue's international bestseller Room.


I've already started, and this book is hauntingly beautiful. It is totally captivating in a way that is quite sinister. For those of you who aren't familiar with this book, here's the same description that convinced me to pick it up in the first place:

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer. Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating--a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child."

And Room hasn't just done well with readers. In fact, my copy comes with nine (nine!) pages of reviews in the front. The New Yorker raves that Room is, "An astounding, terrifying novel...It's a testament to Donoghue's imagination and empathy that she is able to fashion radiance from such horror" and the New York Times Book Reviews comments, "In a narrative at once delicate and vigorous - rich in psychological, sociological, and political meaning - Donoghue reveals how joy and terror often dwell side by side."

Of course, I'll be anxious to share my own thoughts about Room with you very soon and hear from any of you who decide to read this book with me (or who have already read it). Be sure to check back here in the next week or so for our discussion.

8 comments:

  1. Oooh, I haven't read it but it sounds pretty demented. I love demented books.

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    1. It's definitely demented when you stop to think about what's actually going on, but it's not sensational in any way, which I like. It's all written from the point-of-view of five-year-old Jack, and he doesn't really understand their situation. But that lack of understanding makes the book so powerful - and so disquieting. To him, life is so normal, and it's strange to think that someone could perceive that situation as anything than a tragedy.

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  2. This was the book for my book club a couple months back. I started it, but didn't get the time to finish it. I hope to get back to it soon.

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    1. I know that tale! Pick up a book and run out of time to finish. I hope you can get back to it soon so we can talk about it. :)

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  3. I read it. Very well done. Many parallels to to Jaycee Dugard--yikes.

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    1. Yes, it definitely reminds me a lot of Jaycee Dugard. Apparently, Emma Donoghue was especially inspired by Elisabeth Fritzl's story, which has more direct parallels to the book. It's heartbreaking to think about how long she and her children were kept in captivity.

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  4. whoa... that description leaves me with so many questions!! is it disturbing though? i can't stomach things that are disturbing & involve kids. i'm totally a wimp that way.

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    1. I actually don't think it's too disturbing. This book is not at all about sensationalizing the horror and tragedy of people who have been kidnapped and spend much of their lives in captivity, which I so appreciate. It's a beautiful narrative about a mother's relationship and her son, and how they try to make a life that is meaningful in the most impossible of circumstances, which I think is such an incredible feat. It's only disturbing when you find yourself forgetting what their circumstances actually are, or when you realize just how much the five-year-old son doesn't understand about his own reality. But as a book, it's not really focused on explicitly detailing all the horrors and disturbing aspects of this sort of human tragedy. It's not all scandal and sensational horror, and I appreciate that. Like you, I'm don't really go for the overtly disturbing things, where it's like, "Let me tell you in explicit detail all the terrible things that are really going on here."

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