Saturday, 19 November 2011

Book Review: Room


Room is the size of a small shed and home to a young woman and her five year old son, Jack - the narrator of this story.  Through Jack's story, we learn that 'Ma' was abducted when she was 19 years old and Jack is the son whom she bore as a result of being raped by her kidnapper.

I have to be honest, I put off reading this book because the subject matter is so taboo.  We hear stories of abductions in the news, of young children being kept in cellars and it's bone-chillingly awful stuff because its real.  This is the first piece of fiction I've come across that was inspired by such a cruel reality but the narration is incredibly innocent that you forget about who Jack's father is and the circumstances that bought him into this world.  The focus is on Jack and Ma's relationship and their rehabilitation back into society.

It's a tale of a son's love for his mother, it's a reflection on parenting and the natural instinct to protect your own.  Ma has tried to protect Jack from the reality of Room and the random nightly visits of her kidnapper, old Nick.  Each day, Ma and Jack make up games, watch TV and these daily rituals give them a sense of purpose; some days though Ma is 'gone', she doesn't move from her bed and Jack is left to fend for himself on days like that.  And the language of the book is unique, Jack draws you into his world - you begin to recognise a pattern - objects are given names, there's Rug, Table, Meltedy Spoon and Plant - and you feel the childlike connection that Jack has with each of these.  In the first part of the book, the major conflict is dealt with early, Ma hatches a plan for them both to escape and we are taken outside of Room into a world which provides challenges to both Ma and Jack.  

What I liked about this story? It tackled a taboo subject, it is unique and Jack's narration is lovely.  What I found difficult?  The latter part of the story seems to fall away from the first part, for me it was a little jilted.  What I loved about it?  The ending is bittersweet, but oh so good.  If you don't cry at that stage, I will be surprised!  This story is cleverly written, it will make you laugh, give your heartstrings a mighty old tug, and tears will be splattered across pages but it's very good read.  I definitely recommend it - just keep a box of tissues handy.

12 comments:

  1. This sounds really good, but you're right, a difficult subject and one I'd have to be in the right mood for reading.

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  2. This book is on my tbr list. Thanks for your review which reminds me why it's on my list.

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  3. KarenG, it's different from the other fiction available right now and I think that's why it's worth a read. I know other writers have said they had to put the book down for a while too. I had to take a breather in some parts (couldn't read through the tears) but as story is told through the eyes of a 5 year old, it was easier to read vs if it were from his Ma's view.

    MsHatch, you're welcome, hope you get to read it.

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  4. Hello dear! That sounds good. I'm not a fan of this type of story but your review was well written and you make the book sound interesting.

    Hope you're having a lovely weekend and getting lots of writing (and/or editing) done!

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  5. I'll have to think about this one. The years of working with abused kids makes me cautious about reading stories like this.

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  6. What a sad story. Your review sounds good.

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  7. This book would definitely make me cry, but it sounds worthwhile. Thanks for the review!

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  8. Hello D! Thanks so much. It's one of those books which may surprise you. I'm trying to work on edits this weekend in between a little R&R and errands. Hope you're having a fab one too!

    Bish, totally understand. It's cleverly written and from Jacks viewpoint. I honestly think if it were from Ma's viewpoint, I wouldn't have read it.

    Romance Reader, thanks! There's definitely sad parts but overall its still a good story.

    Meredith, you're welcome. Just keep tissues near - and there are funny bits in the storyline which will make you smile too. ;)

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  9. Sounds an emotional roller-coaster of a story. Thanks for bringing it to our notice.

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  10. this sounds great i'll have to add it to my to read list

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  11. Sounds like a promising read. Kudos to the author for tackling such a difficult subject.

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  12. Not sure if I'll read the book, but I now have a better impression than I did before. Thanks.

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