Room is a is a unique, creative and one-of-a-kind novel narrated by a 5 year old boy named Jack who has been kept in captivity with his Ma. I have to admit that I avoid stories including abuse and mistreatment of children but since Emma Donaghue is participating in the 2016-17 Grimsby Author Series, decided to listen to the book during my commutes. Despite its unconventional tale, I appreciated the creativity although the topic is uncomfortable and keeps the reader ruminating about the experience of the main characters.
Jack has experienced his entire 5 years in a 12×12 foot room with Ma who was kidnapped at the age of 19 and kept in a sound proof shed by Old Nick. The floors and walls were reinforced with chain link fencing and the door locked with a code. Jack was the product of sexual abuse and was a bright and articulate boy that understood his confined world yet had limited understanding of the world outside. Ma did her best to protect Jack, explaining little about the outside world and insisting he stay it the wardrobe during Old Nick’s visits. She did her best to keep him healthy by encouraging physical fitness, teaching him to read and keeping him occupied with crafts and games.
To keep the review from being a spoiler, I will stop describing the story. It is an emotionally difficult tale and I think may have been made more difficult having a young voice narrate the character of Jack. Sadly, the story was based on an actual case of a child in captivity and the reader is left to imagine the ongoing impact that years in captivity would have on growth and development of a child.
I am looking forward to the 2016-17 Grimsby Author Series and think that it will be interesting to hear the perspective of the author who wrote this original novel. The story causes the reader to ponder the situation and although I struggled with the topic I can recognize the writer’s talent and ingenuity.