Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Emma Donoghue's "Room"



I know, I know. I'm late to this party. My excuse is that when this book was released, I was super pregnant and then we were busy with a newborn who had a lot of medical issues that lead to a diagnosis of Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. I was in a daze. I actually didn't even know this book existed until I saw the movie trailer this year. 

For those of you who have also been living under a rock (like me), here is the premise of "Room" by Emma Donoghue:

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.

This book is inspired by the true story of Elisabeth Fritzl, an Australian woman who was imprisoned in her father's basement for twenty years, during which time he repeatedly assaulted and raped her. She had one miscarriage and seven children by him, some of who were also imprisoned with her until they were rescued. The fact that this is based off a horrific true crime should have held my attention captive. It should have been an emotional read. I should have felt helpless along with the character, angry at the captor, and sad about the circumstances. However, the entire book was a huge struggle for me. It is a dark story. An uncomfortable story. But I was just annoyed throughout the entire thing. 

I guess I will just jump into it- I hated this book. The only reason I gave it two stars instead of just one was because it was (slightly) interesting during a few chapters. I think the issue I had was the delivery. This book is told from the perspective of 5 year old Jack. He has never been outside the room. He is also annoying. He makes everyday, intimate objects seem like a person. "Dresser, Cup, Table..." the way he talks is completely unbelievable.  As a mother of 3 boys I have to say that none of them have very talked like this. If they had I would have been quick to correct them, which his mother does but he just doesn't learn, I guess. I mean, I get that he has had no physical contact with the outside world, but he has a tv. 

The first half of the book is repetitive. They're stuck in a room. Day to day life in a room isn't that interesting. When told from a 5 year old's perspective it's even more boring. Then you get to the part where they escape. Oh sorry, spoiler alert- they escape. This part was unbelievable also. Once you get past the escape the story is basically over. If you want more excitement or plot twists then you're in for dissapointment. Just end the book there. You really won't be missing anything. Donoghue put the climax in the middle of the book. The second half consists of Jack being integrated into society, which is just like it sounds. Him learning how to behave around others. There is nothing to drive the book to the end. Just resolution and no conflict. 

I will admit that the escape and rescue did have me enthralled and entertained. Though unbelievable, it was exciting to read. These couple chapters don't make up for the rest of the book's blandness. Unbelievable characters and an unisteresting plot make this a dud for me.I feel I could have liked the book better had it been a short story and was told from the mother's perspective. 

There it is. My review. I know that a lot of readers don't agree with me. That is the whole beauty of reading- everyone reads the same book differently! Everyone interprets a book in their own way. 

Happy Reading!

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