Ok so here goes. I am not a fan of the Booker Nominations. For one, I do not get them. Second, they seem to be not to close to making readers read without any hiccups. Having said that, I had to chew on my words (and how) once I started reading, “Room” by Emma Donoghue.
I am not new to Emma’s works. I have read “Slammerkin” and loved it beyond words and the same magic was re-created with “Room”.
I was taken in from the very start: “Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, then two, then one, then zero. Was I minus numbers?”
Now that’s the power of writing. Something that grips you from the very beginning and doesn’t let go of you. And so starts the story of Ma and Jack who live in an eleven feet by eleven feet Room. They have no contact with the outside world. Jack doesn’t know what it means. He has spent his days playing with things he can make do with in the confines of the room, watching shows on TV (He thinks that everything and everyone he sees in the TV is unreal), and reciting and learning the songs, rhymes and stories that his Ma remembers. He has only been in touch (and that too not literally) with someone known as, “Old Nick” who visits his mother every night.
They are two captives being held in captivity and the story obviously is told from two perspectives.
Donoghue has captured their voices beautifully. The reaction of Jack when he gets to know of the Outside world and how sometimes a safe place can go awry, after Ma decides to plan an escape.
For me the book was an eye-opener. Of what parents do to keep their children from harm, to help them grow and make them take tiny steps – one at a time so they do not ever get hurt.
I loved reading the story from Jack’s point of view all the time. It is well-crafted.
According to me everyone must read this book. Please read it.
Room by Emma Donoghue; Picador; Available at all leading book stores; ₨499;