Emma Donaghue's Room was a huge surprise. After reading and discussing The Sealed Letter by Donaghue, I expected another trite novel featuring retched characters. Not so. 5-year old Jack acts as narrator throughout the book, and his insightful, innocent story-telling style makes the book readable and immensely enjoyable—despite the fact the subject matter is that of our most gruesome nightmares.
27-year old Ma, and her 5-year old son, Jack, have been being held captive in a room for over seven years by Old Nick. In a fine example of cleaver narration and story telling, we learn how, from day-to-day, Ma incorporates survival strategies with everyday tasks and raising Jack. For example, games such as screaming, and chores such as turning on and off Light are actually survival tactics, but Jack views them merely as part of his normal, everyday life.
The most heartbreaking aspect of this novel is understanding that Jack has never known anything except Room. So, when he and Ma escape, it is almost unfathomable that Jack misses Room—but of course he does! It is so strange to put yourself in Jack's shoes, and try to understand desperately wanting to return.
And just never mind what poor Ma went through! She is an admirable and very strong character and mother. Her ability to do with Jack what she did, given her very limited resources, is nothing short of
The Third Tuesday Book Club was immensely impressed with the strength of Donaghue's narrative—specifically during the episode of Jack's escape from Room. We were sweating bullets! Hearts were pounding, and stomachs were turning! What powerful, intense story-telling! A far, far cry from The Sealed Letter, I must say. I also absolutely loved how Jack referred to items as proper nouns, such as Room, Bed, and Light.
I apologize again for the brevity of this post, and the lack of details. I will ensure that my phone is in working order next meeting!
Our next meeting is on March 22nd at 7:30 in the usual location. We will be reading discussing Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry.
In April, we will be meeting on the 19 at 7:30 in the usual place. We will be reading and discussing Sue's pick: The In-between World of Vikram Lall by MG Vassanji.
Vanessa has selected her book for May: We are going to meet on the 17th at 7:30 in the usual location, and we will be reading and discussing Shilpi Somaya Gowda's Secret Daughter.
See you all March! Oh, and may I note, that the February post was actually posted in February?
Be excellent to each other.