Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Really Remarkable Read

Every so often, I find a book that's so interesting, so unique, so compelling, I can't put it down. I read when I'm supposed to be grading. Or writing. Or making dinner. And when I'm not reading it, I'm thinking about it.

Room is one of these books.

Emma Donoghue crafts a journey that five-year-old Jack narrates from a lifelong captivity in an 11-by-11-foot shed into the Outside.

After Jack's birthday in Room, Ma feels an urgent need to escape, with Jack as the pivotal piece of the Plan.

The book is divided into five parts (Jack's favorite number)--Presents, Unlying, Dying, After, Living--the essence of which is the adjustments moms make for their children, the subconscious selflessness beyond sacrifice physically, mentally, emotionally.

Ma is real. She tries to be strong, and she is, mostly. But the burden she carries of doing what's best for her son sometimes overcomes her.

Jack is intuitive, bright, and curious. Readers will love and admire his courage and clarity, his sensible names for common things: "persons," "littles," "switching off."

An unexpected vessel to Jack's healing in the Outside is Legos, with "so many tiny pieces all colors, it's like a soup," which he discovers and builds with Steppa, his step-grandpa.

Room is the place where certain moms live: the un-boundaries where the health, happiness, and safety of their children comes at a high but never counted cost. A place where these moms do the best they can with what they have, even if it's a Plant, a Lamp, and a Snake made of eggshells.


Jennifer Hillier said...

Great review! I read this book a little while ago myself and found myself thinking about it for days afterward. It totally got under my skin.

Indigo said...

I can't wait to read this book. I've heard so many great reviews about it. (Hugs)Indigo

Anonymous said...

It's on my wish list. I read Slammerkin by Donoghue and I'll never forget how much I loved it.