Back in 2010 Emma Donoghue's Room was published and I bought a copy. When my friend, Kristin, had finished reading Room she told me she wanted me to read it so we could talk about it.
Guess what?! I finished Room just this weekend. I called Kristin right away and told her I was ready for that talk.
What made me wait so long?
Well, the idea of a mom and her son locked into a room for years is a tough subject.
It did take me a while to get into Room. Jack, a five year old, narrates the novel. Hearing a child's voice wasn't easy at first. He is so young and has such little experience in the world. He watches television, but doesn't realize that there are people who exist that aren't flat. He's never seen a tree or a car or an airplane. Everything he knows exists in the small room that has been his home for his entire life.
As the story unfolds, Jack's mother shares with him the story of how she came to be in the Room. This is also hard to read. Her frustration with her life grows until she cannot stand it anymore and she devises a plan.
I was surprised and impressed by the way Donoghue captures what life must have been like for Jack. I kept waiting to think, "Wait. That doesn't make sense. There is no way that could have happened." I never thought that even once. When Jack encounters steps, he climbs them on all fours. He's never seen such a thing before. His hair is long. Of course he's never had a haircut. Donoghue explains every single detail of this very isolated existence in a completely believable way.
Our book club discussed it last night. Some of the members aren't entirely finished with this story. I found it hard to put down once I was really into the story. Having never read anything else by Donoghue, I know I'll look for more of her work in the future.
There are other books that I've owned for six years and have yet to pick them up from my TBR stack (er....stacks.....or perhaps TBR room is more accurate). If only there were more hours in a day, great stories like this wouldn't be sitting around for so long waiting to be read.