"Scared is what you're feeling. Brave is what you're doing." -Emma Donoghue; Room
Room (by Emma Donoghue) tells the story of and is narrated by five-year-old Jack, who lives in an 11 foot by 11 foot room, the only place he has ever been, with Ma, his mother, who is the only person he has ever met. Ma (what readers know her by) was kidnapped and hidden in an unseen storage shed in a backyard one night during college by Old Nick, her captor. After that night, she spends seven years in the captivity of Room. Two years in, she gives birth to Jack, and he is the only thing that keeps her going. She loves him unconditionally, despite where he came from, and tried to shelter him through his childhood, leading him to believe that Room is the only place that exists. He doesn’t know about Outside, what he sees on TV. He thinks it is all made up, that it could never be possible. Room only has a skylight, not even a window, so Jack has never seen the outside world. When Jack turns five, however, Ma decides to tell him about the outside world, and at first he doesn’t believe a word of it. He thinks she MUST be kidding, but after much convincing, the two devise a plan to escape from Old Nick and Room.
I don’t want to give away any more details, but this is one of the best books I have read lately, and I have read (and enjoyed) many. It is captivating, and I could not put it down; I had to finish reading as quickly as I could. Jack’s narration is a bit difficult to get into at first because he uses a lot of run-on sentences, and he forms his questions backwards sometimes, but after 30 minutes or so of reading, I was hooked. I can’t imagine this book being told by Ma or anyone else. Jack is the perfect candidate for the job, and Emma Donoghue wrote him well.
If you read nothing else this year, please read Room. It’s a tough subject matter, but you will NOT regret the read, I promise.