“Ma standing beside Lamp and everything bright, then snap and dark again. Light again, she makes it last three seconds then dark, then light for just a second. Ma’s staring up at Skylight. Dark again. She does this in the night, I think it helps her get to sleep again. “
Emma Donoghue, ROOM
Room, by Emma Donoghue, was published in September of 2010 and is 336 pages. It is one of the New York Times’ Best Books of 2010, and has earned top spots on many lists and reviews. I heard from several friends that they read it in one to two sittings so I had to see what the hype was about.
Room is the story of five-year-old Jack who has lived his entire life with his mother in an 11 X 11 room. To him it is all he’s ever known, but his mother slowly reveals to Jack that it is a prison that they need to escape. From middle of the night morse-code light flickers, to the “Scream” Ma and Jack do every afternoon, it quickly becomes clear that Ma feels if they don’t find a way to escape, they will die.
I don’t want to spoil Room by writing too much about the plot, though I’m dying to discuss it with others. I will say that it’s narrated by five-year-old Jack, and truly remarkable how Donoghue is able to sustain the child’s voice convincingly, while revealing the horrible truths of the situation as a child would come to understand them. I originally didn’t think I could read a book with a premise like this, but I absolutely loved it. While it is difficult to read at times, the overall message and journey in Room make it well worth your time.
I read Room in two nights. It is one of the most terrifying, absorbing, intriguing, yet hopeful books I’ve ever read. I highly recommend it.
Have you read ROOM? If so, what did you think? If not, do you think you’ll give it a try?