What Adam’s Reading: “Room” by Emma Donoghue

room-by-emma-donoghueAs I mentioned it here, my friends and I decided to make “Room” our February book of the month. Although I finished it several weeks ago, I’m just now getting around to writing about it because it’s taken me a while to wrap my head around what I thought of it.

For those of you that don’t know the premise, “Room” follows the story of a mother and her son who, very simply, live in a room. As you flip through pages, you quickly realize that the mom was kidnapped when she was very young and forced into doing the bidding of her captor, hence the birth of their son. Heavy material I know, but the catch is that the whole story is told from the perspective of the five-year-old boy, who knows nothing of the outside world and would be very content should he have to live in “Room” forever.

It’s an interesting approach since the book delves into what it’s like for someone to discover the world, one tree, pancake and sucker at a time. If you consider that your whole universe centered around a 10×11 foot space with no windows and only a TV for entertainment, you soon understand that it’s no wonder this boy is overwhelmed. Heck, I get overwhelmed at the office sometimes with the sheer volume of work that I have to do. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to have every single one of your senses flooded with new smells, sounds and sights.

My biggest concern with this book is that the five-year-old’s perspective can get pretty old, pretty fast. Once you get over the fact that he names all of the furniture, you realize that his obvious lack of vocabulary keeps a lot of details and layers of the story in the dark. I understand what Donoghue wanted to achieve, but I can’t help but feel that this particular work lacks complexity. Then again, maybe that’s the point? Maybe it shows that although this boy is trapped in a horrible, life-altering situation, for him it’s normal, simple and what he’s learned to accept.

I gave this book a B for how easy it is to read and the originality of the story. But I can’t give it anything more because of the simplicity, lack of character development and overall writing style. Now, I realize that all of the books I’ve read so far this year are wavering in the slightly-above-average realm, but stick with me. There are bound to be some As out there. In fact, the book I’m reading now is headed that way so there is hope!

Summary:
  • Grade: B
  • What it’s about: A little boy and his mother who were forced to live in a room for five years before escaping and rediscovering the world.
  • Who should read this book: If you have a pulse on the literary world, you should read it just because it’s made the rounds of all the “best of” lists. If you don’t, you should read it because it gives you some perspective and a greater appreciation for the hardships that some individuals have to go through.
  • When you should read it: This is definitely heavy materials, so you should plan accordingly.
  • Where to find it:Amazon.com for $10.
Have you read “Room”? What did you think of the five-year-old narrative?

PS: Check out the other books I’ve read here. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration for your own reading list.

PPS: This post took FOREVER to write because I ended up getting distracted by Pinterest. Be on the look out for a post about my impressions of the social networking site sometime in the near future. 

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