Friday, 18 January 2013

Book Review 5: Room

I heard about this book a couple of years ago, when it first came out. I kept seeing it on the "new releases" shelf at the local bookstore, but after reading the synopsis, I didn't give it much thought. I had no interest in reading it since at the time, I wanted to mostly stick to happy "fluffy" reads and the storyline just sounded too depressing for my taste. I forgot about it for a while, then saw it sitting at the library a few weeks ago. This time around, I thought it sounded both creepy and kind of intriguing, and that's exactly what it was.

"Room" was inspired by the 2008 Fritzl case of a similar (yet far more disturbing) nature. The narrator of this story is five year old Jack, who lives in Room with Ma. He's never been out of this Room, and doesn't know anything about Outside. Jack thinks everything in Room is his best friend and considers it his home. But to Ma, Room is nothing but a prison, and Old Nick is her prisoner.

It was difficult for me to wrap my head around this book at first. I had a hard time trying to understand Jack's world. A world where nothing exists except for Jack, Ma, and Room. On the contrary, my eyes were glued to it and I didn't want to put it down. Although the setting is very disturbing, Donoghue did a good job of writing a nice story of a mother raising her son. Even in the most terrifying of circumstances, the power of her love (as a mother) could not be weakened. As the story progresses, it is evident that Ma's spirit is rarely crushed, and she has faith that she will one day escape this hell on earth. Furthermore, I like how Donoghue portrayed the protagonist as innocent, blinded and naive, because I think this is an accurate portrayal of a child.

I found Room to be a thought provoking tale. Despite the level of creepiness of this book, I didn't find myself shuddering as much I thought I would. It was a step outside of my comfort zone and a new experience for me to read something like this. I probably won't pick up books like this too often, nor would I recommend it to others. However, now I know I can handle it.

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