“People move around so much in the world, things get lost.”– Emma Donoghue, Room
Room by Emma Donoghue is a 2010 novel that recounts the story of a young family; torn apart and tossed aside by one horrific man. It tests the ideals of perfection and family bonds, but ultimately leaves the reader in a more refreshed and receptive state of mind.
Room is about a 5-year old boy named Jack. Jack and his Ma live in Room, a converted shed with a password-guarded metal door. It may not seem so luxurious, but it’s home. In Jack’s case, now that he’s 5, he knows everything there is to know about Room, from its weathered bed, to the snake made of eggshells that resides beneath it, to the single source of natural light, Skylight, and so on. From a distance, he may seem like an average kid. He loves to draw, sing, watch Dora the Explorer and do gymnastics. But despite his mother’s best efforts, he’s been deprived of a real childhood. Jack’s five years of wisdom come from inside the four walls of the shed, and he’s hit with a ton of bricks when he realizes that there is a whole world outside. Dora and Boots alone can’t teach him about the world. As far as he’s concerned, the only real, tangible things exist in Room. When he finally escapes the clutches of Old Nick, his captor, Jack has a lot of trouble figuring out the real world. It’s the essence of a self-discovery novel and it’s thrilling and beautiful.
Jack’s perspective is emotionally draining and absolutely enlightening. The story is somehow innocent and painstakingly profound all at once, and it is the inseparable bond between Jack and his Ma that holds the whole story together. Reading this novel I felt myself transforming as I flipped each page. After finishing, I noticed myself thinking in a different, more open-minded fashion. Everything that I couldn’t see before; the way the light catches on certain things, the dynamics of peoples’ laughter, suddenly became clear. I am entirely grateful for this experience of a story, because that’s what it truly is, and I would recommend it, hand over heart, to anyone and everyone. I truly hope that this novel goes down in history as an inspirational, heartbreaking work of art. The characters are so well-developed and as the reader I became completely invested in their growth, struggle and pain. It’s an awe-inspiring story of self-discovery, self-hatred, self-confidence and self-everything else.
This book impressed me, as it is clear to see, with its extremely well-executed plot and detailed descriptions. It’s very hard to visualise something so small, such as Room, when you’re used to thinking big all of the time. We are (or at least I am) always told to think outside the box. But when it comes to Room by Emma Donoghue, we have to revert back to small ways of thinking, in order to understand the characters (especially Jack), and to learn along with them. This story is also very loosely inspired by the Fritzl case, a real-life event where a father held captive and sexually abused his daughter for 24 years. Room is not nearly as tragic as this case whatsoever, but the parallels between the two are absolutely evident. Emma Donoghue has expressed that saying Room is based off of the Fritzl case is far too strong, but of course the reader can see how she may have been inspired.
I was also very excited to find out that a film has been made based on this story. I am thrilled and cannot wait to see it, I have faith that it will look excellent as a movie. If you’re someone who likes to read a book and then watch a movie about it, or vice versa, go pick up Room as soon as you can. Even if you cannot see the movie (if it’s not available where you live), I strongly suggest giving this one a try. Even if you’re usually not a big reader, although I don’t know why you’d be here if you weren’t, no judgement, this story has taught me a plethora of unforgettable lessons, through Emma Donoghue’s masterful character voice and touching character relationships. Thank you for stopping by, and happy reading. xoxx