Room by Emma Donoghue
‘It’s Jack’s birthday, and he’s excited about turning five. He lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real- only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there’s a world outside…’
Told from the perspective of a five year old boy, Room by Emma Donoghue is a remarkably endearing tale of survival, mother-child love and life. Jack’s mother was kidnapped by a man named ‘Old Nick’ and he kept her in a dungeon like soundproof room. Old Nick had created it in his garden shed. It is in this room, Jack was born and has grown up. He has never seen the world outside. To Jack, the ‘Room’ is like is his home, his world where he lives and plays with his Ma, but for his Ma, it is a prison in which she has been forced to spend seven long years of her life. Soon, after Jack’s 5th birthday, she admits to him that there is a whole world beyond the walls of the room and comes up with a plan of rescue in which Jack has to play a huge role.
Emma Donoghue has crafted such a heart wrenching tale that is truly riveting and spell binding. The characters of Jack and his Ma are so well crafted and real that it will pain your heart to find the kind of misery and pain they have undergone. Jack is intelligent, loves playing and reading, hates green beans and loves his mother dearly. That is why he finally agrees to help her mother in her plan of rescue despite being unsure if he could really do it. Jack’s Ma is loving and caring, an epitome of love and compassion, but deep down tired of her life in the room. It is only because of Jack, she has survived the seven long years in the room and has kept the hope of living in the outside world again alive.
I do not want to go into the details of the plot as I think it won’t be possible to write about it without giving out spoilers. I was at first intimidated about reading this book as I had heard what the story was about and could not really imagine how could there be a story about a mother and a child living confined in a room.
I am proved so wrong!
It is a profound and beautifully crafted story that will take you on a journey of emotions – pain, misery, agony, love, exhilaration, joy and contentment. It will definately leave a indelible impression on the readers and will have a place in their memory for a long time. I found the story quite unsettling at some points. For a moment, I imagined myself in such a room and believe me, I had a feeling of suffocation. But, I loved the way it ended, there could not have been a better, profound and meaningful ending.
On doing some research on internet I found that the author was inspired to write the novel after hearing about five-year-old Felix in the Fritzl case. Emma Donoghue is an Irish born writer and currently lives in Canada. Room was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. To know more about the author visit http://www.emmadonoghue.com/
This review was also posted on Pages