I know that a lot of people have read this book & raved about it, so I am a little late to the party. I didn’t know what Room was about & often don’t ready the description of the books I buy – this was the case with Room & I am glad that I went into reading it not knowing what to expect.
Admittedly I did struggle with Room at first, I was a little bored through the first chapter or so & I was considering giving it up. Then, I spoke to a friend who had read it & she told me to stick with it, that I probably wouldn’t regret it. She was right! Once I got past the irritation of the narration, which I didn’t really like, I started to really love Room.
Room is a very touching story of Ma & Jack. Ma was abducted when she was 19 & held captive & repeatedly raped. Eventually she gives birth to Jack, & tries to raise him in their tiny prison “Room”. Ma cleverly uses the few things she has at hand to enhance Jack’s narrow world, to try and give him as normal a childhood as she can. I think Donoghue did a brilliant job of trying to portray what life in captivity, with a child who is a result of that captivity, must be like.
A common complaint that I have read about room is that “The use of a just turned 5 year old boy ( who has been locked in a room all his life) as a narrator using language and understanding concepts far too advanced for a child of this age made the story unconvincing.” I do get that complaint, but I think a lot of these people are forgetting that Jack is a 5 year old who has never had any interaction with the outside world. The only person he has ever spoken to is his mother, so with that in mind, I do not find it hard to believe that he would have the understandings & behaviours that he does. His mother has done everything she knows how to, to give Jack a semblance of a normal childhood, but surely simply the fact that Jack was the only other person in her life, her adult ways would have rubbed off on him? So, with that in mind, how can anyone say how a 5-year old in that situation would speak/behave? We can’t. Pure & simple.
I didn’t think that the 2nd part of the book was as effective as the first but I did enjoy it nonetheless.
Overall, I think that Room was a very good story, but it is one that perhaps you have to suspend reality a bit to enjoy, to try to put yourself in the character’s shoes, & not try to second guess too much whether Jack is believable enough or not.