Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: Room, by Emma Donoghue

Although well-written and well-paced, Room is not a book I enjoyed. Room is not the kind of book I usually read. So, why did I read it? Room is a nominated title on the Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award list for 2013-14. There are 22 books on the list, and Room is the last book on the list that I needed to read.

I don't like books about realistic suffering at the hands of a demented human -- especially when the victim is a young person. I'm probably one of the only people in the world who hasn't read A Child Called It. I don't want to. But when it comes to the Abe Lincoln list, I'm stubborn, so I read them all.

Room is about a 5-year-old little boy, Jack, and his Ma who are confined to a room. There'a bed, a toilet, a stove, sink, rug, TV, and table. Jack was born in this room. His mother has been here since she was kidnapped 7 years ago.

So, it's awful. Depressing. Heartbreaking. And, yes, I guess somewhat hopeful, but it takes a long time to get to that point. Ma is ingenious in raising Jack to be healthy and smart. He can read. But he doesn't understand that there is anything outside of Room. When his Ma begins to describe the outside, Jack is very confused.

As I said at the beginning, the book is interesting. Jack is telling the story, so he has a backwards way of talking and describing, but it's easy enough to understand and adds to the realism. I guess it's too real for me.

This is not a book I would have picked up, had I not had a reason. I know what kinds of books I like -- and this isn't it. But, if you like this sort of story, then Room is a great one. I'm not going to give the book a rating, because my discomfort is purely a personal thing and has nothing to do with the quality of the literature.

Published by Little, Brown, & Co., 2010
Copy obtained from the library
321 pages

Rating: N/A

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  1. I did read Room and I thought it was so well done. Having Jack as the narrator allowed for the reader to get a kid's version of the events, which are much easier to stomach than an adult's version with all it's awfulness and knowledge. I totally understand what you're saying about reading books about human suffering that are all too real, but I thought this was a very good book that pulled me in from the start, maybe because I feel if I keep reading I'll understand

  2. I'm right there with you on the discomfort. I read this for book club and found it very disturbing, and didn't really enjoy the read at all, though I could see the literary quality. Kudos to you for getting through it, even though it's out of your comfort zone. Great review!

  3. Sorry to hear this one wasn't for you


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