ROOM (2010) is the story of a five-year-old called Jack, who lives in a single room with his Ma and has never been outside. When he turns five, he starts to ask questions, and his mother reveals to him that there is a world outside. Told entirely in Jack’s voice, ROOM is no horror story or tearjerker, but a celebration of resilience and the love between parent and child.
Unlike most books, I did not read a synopsis of Room before I started the book. I heard all of the buzz and critical acclaim for this novel, and looked forward to the opportunity to read it. On a trip to Houston this year, I tossed it in my bag and found myself completely engrossed from page one. It was the fastest three-hour flight that I had ever experienced.
Told from the perspective of a five-year-old, Room was really breathtaking. It took me several pages to adjust to Jack's perspective, but once I understood the approach, I was hooked. Donoghue's ability to convey very adult situations using both Jack's description, as well as dialogue between Jack and his mother was very interesting. Admittedly, I found myself imagining the world through my daughter's eyes - with limited vocabulary and limited understanding of human motives, a child's abilty to describe their world is very simple, but often very enlightening.
It is difficult to offer a fully critique of Room without providing any spoilers, but in order to really enjoy the book I think that it is crucial that the reader not know what is going to happen. Personally, I would have preferred that the first "part" had been extended, because this storyline felt the most real and raw to me. However, I do appreciate Donoghue's approach to telling the story and understand the importance of exploring the emotions that occured during the second phase of the novel.
When I finished Room - on the flight back home - I wished that I had someone that I could have chatted with about the book. It was such a powerful story and Jack's perspective made such a great impression upon me. The novel is very deserving of the attention that it has received!