“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.” ― Emma Donoghue, Room
I started Room by Emma Donoghue a very long time ago, not long after it first came out. At the time I remember being too busy for books so when it didn’t pull me in from the very beginning, I dropped it altogether. Now that I’ve gone back to finish the book, I see the error of my ways oh so long ago.
Room is easily one of the most captivating books I’ve read in a very long time. I haven’t had a read in a while that has prompted me to stay up until the early hours of the morning, simply because I couldn’t stop turning the pages. I wanted it to continue on and I mourned a little when the book was over.
Room is told from the perspective of a 5 year old boy named Jack, who has spent his entire existence in captivity with his mother. Unlike other novels and stories that circle around a kidnapping, the events have already taken place long before Jack is born and he has no understanding of a world that exists outside of their little garden shed, aka ‘Room.’
In the beginning Jack is happily celebrating his 5th birthday as he plays all of his favorite games with Ma. There is a television in the shed, Jack is aware of all the things he doesn’t have but there are two categories in Jack’s world, real and ‘TV.’ Stores, cars, trees… these things are all ‘TV’ and not real as far as Jack is concerned; he’s quite content with his little boxed in reality. Unfortunately, and as would be expected, Ma is not.
Donoghue’s ability to tackle enormously complex themes and life events from the narrative of a 5 year old boy is impressive. As his mother experiences sexual abuse and worries about their well being, Donoghue stays true to her socially-stunted 5 year old narrator and describes the events as only a child might understand them. It is haunting, it is clever, and it creates a unique novel unlike anything I’ve read before.
Room is now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson – watch the movie trailer below: