Room by Emma Donoghue
GENRE: Contemporary | PAGES: 321
My rating: ★★★★★
Room is… good… By good, I mean not just good but lunch-skipping, sleep-depriving, don’t-fucking-disturb-me good. In fact, good doesn’t cover it. Great doesn’t do it justice either. There isn’t a word for how I feel about it.
It is excellently written from page one, the opening sentence:
‘Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe…’
I was instantly drawn to the story this five-year-old was about to tell.
There were several times I paused to wonder how a child of his age could know so much yet so little, and then there was a moment before starting to read when I wondered whether a story from a child’s viewpoint would just be bad news: patronising at worst, sappy and sentimental at best. But man, am I ever glad I read it anyway. I stand—no, I sit, exhausted from the journey that is Room—corrected.
It wasn’t patronising, or sappy or sentimental. It was just plain overwhelming and quite simply, the whole damn thing just worked. And as for this sharp, intelligent boy… I realised that those bits I questioned, were mere moments I hadn’t quite placed myself in, as a child… an innocent, clean-slated, unbiased child.
How could I? Therefore who the hell was I to damn well question what he felt or how and why or how much he knew or understood? I just let it be.
Within minutes of starting, I was hooked on the story, captured by this child and his energy for the life he lived, in Room.
As the story progresses you learn more about his Ma, her own story, her own trauma and battles against what is; yet as many stories as I’ve read of others in her situation, I have never come across anything quite so unique as this. And it is because of Jack.
He is a born storyteller, taking us all along at a gallop.
Somehow this original pint-sized protagonist is ten times more powerful exactly as he is than if he were a bellowing giant on a mountaintop.
If you haven’t read this yet, please DO. If only to meet Jack. Once you do, you will not forget him or his tale in a hurry.