To five-year-old Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born. It's where he and Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. There are endless wonders that let loose Jack's imagination -- the snake under Bed that he constructs out of eggshells; the imaginary world projected through the TV; the coziness of Wardrobe beneath Ma's clothes, where she tucks him in safely at night, in case Old Nick comes.
It never ceases to amaze me when I read a book, so beautifully written, that captures so perfectly the unknown. Which Emma Donoghue does in Room. Jack, a newly 5 year old boy, lives in Room, the only place he has ever lived, and ever known. Room is his life. His world. He was born there due to the fact that his mother was kidnapped years before he was even born. In Room I was not only able to read of Jack's amazing innocence, but also of his Ma's despair and desperation. Everything is seen by Jack, and relayed to us blatantly, due to his fresh and unbiased opinion on life.
I highly recommend this book. It is such a great read, and has every element of a good novel wrapped up into a heart-breakingly cute, hope-inspiring, coming-of-age tear-jerker. It is like no other novel that I have ever read. It is everything. And it is lovely.
Spoiler Alert: Don't read past this point if you don't want to know specific book details!
As soon as I started reading of all the things that constitute Jack's life, I knew this book would captivate me. It was so completely heartbreaking, but completely fascinating at the same time. I saddened when I learned that Jack eats almost nothing and thinks the world of it. I winced when Jack obligingly plays 'scream' (a game designed by Ma to desperately attract anyone to rescue her and Jack). I shed a tear when Jack explains that he counts how many 'squeaks' it takes every night until Old Nick (their captor) is finished raping his Ma.
As the story goes on, and we are able to really see behind everything that Jack consistently reports to us, the story got more and more sad, yet gave me more and more hope. I was actually really surprised that Jack and his Ma were able to escape, and thoroughly enjoyed the incorporation of after they escaped Room. I definitely did not anticipate it based on the summary. It was almost symbolic how Jack has to pretend to be dead in order to get out from Room and save his mother. We eventually see the innocent, shielded boy that lived in Room die, in a way, when he goes back to Room, and finally sees it for what it is.
It was also so refreshing to see the world from Jack's perspective because he was a blank slate, and so many of his blatant observations held so much wisdom that I think we are totally unable to pick up on as a society today. One particular line stuck out to me, when Jack and his Grandma happen onto a breastfeeding mother. Grandma tells Jack that the lady wanted to be alone, or private where Jack promptly thinks in his head, "I didn't know persons could be private out in the world." This line was so absolutely perfect and honest and truthful. Jack can just see the world for what it is, and I commend Donoghue for being able to capture that sentiment so completely.
Another thing that made this book so epic and unforgettable was the psychological aspect of Ma that we see through Jack's eyes. Even though Jack doesn't understand all the time, he still seems to relay the information to us (which is another amazing benefit of the unique narration style). I saw Ma struggle with so many things, which seemed only secondly important to Jack by a small margin. Because as important as it was to understand Jack's sorrowful situation, not knowing what was there for him in the world, we still have Ma, Jack's rock, who knows all too well what was stolen from her when she was captured by Old Nick all those years ago. When Ma was 'gone' as Jack says, I saw the ultimate depression that shrouded her as she attempted to deal with her situation. And when they were out, as much as she wanted to stay by Jack and help him acclimate to his new world, she just wanted to get back to the things that made her feel normal when she had her freedom; before it was taken away.
Overall, I loved this book. I keep thinking how awesome it would be to see some kind of sequel in the works about Jack and his endeavors as he grows up or as an adult even. But for now I am content of thinking of Jack and Ma, in their new apartment, maybe fulfilling all the things on their list, when they can be 'scave' enough.
Wish they were all this good--Cheers & Enjoy♥