If you haven’t heard of Room by Emma Donoghue, or if you have but haven’t bought it yet, go buy it. Do it today. Immediately. Because I promise you will not be disappointed.
Donoghue has written a spectacular novel that is currently short-listed for the prestigious Man Booker prize. The premise of Room is eerily similar to the real-life Jaycee Lee Dugard situation and the Fritzl case in Austria: a young woman is kidnapped on her college campus and held captive for years. Her jailer, known as Old Nick, comes to “visit” once a week.
Told from the perspective of Jack, her five year old son, you gradually begin to understand the heartbreaking and nightmarish circumstances he and his mother are in. That this little boy and his mother are living in an 11 x 11 soundproofed and lead-lined shed in the backyard of a very sick man.
But you don’t really dwell – at least in the forefront – on the perverse implications of their situation because of Jack. Jack is the perfect vehicle to tell this horrifying story – a quirky and precocious narrator who only knows this life, in this small room. You see through his eyes his mother’s attempts at a normal childhood for him, the games they play using egg shells and toilet paper rolls. My heart broke when his mother hides him in a cupboard each time Old Nick comes to visit … and what she has to do in order for Old Nick to bring them food and supplies. She’s a mother, a mother who will give her body each week to a deranged man in order to protect her son.
Until she decides it’s time to escape.
Don’t worry readers; I’m not going to spoil the ending for you. I will just end with this – Room is an amazing, intense book that deserves all the attention it is receiving. Will you have to mentally shake off a black, creepy feeling when you finish it? Probably. But it’s so worth the ride along the way.
—Kelly Bowen, Publicity Manager