Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reading Bingo: Room

A few weeks ago I posted about the fun challenge Random House of Canada came up with for this year - reading bingo! (If you missed it, you can check out my post here) I'm going to try to fill in as many boxes as possible before the end of 2013 and I'm happy that I've already marked off one of the boxes this month - a book that is out of my comfort zone. Room by Emma Donoghue was definitely a book that I wouldn't normally pick up. I've heard fabulous things about it and know many people really enjoyed it but I just never planned on reading it because it wasn't something I was drawn to. So why did I read it? Because it was a book club pick. I'm interested to see what the other ladies have to say about it when we meet tonight because I certainly did not have a good time while reading it.

Here's the synopsis:
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
I don't think I've ever been so disturbed by a novel before. I finished this book about ten days ago and I still shudder when I think about it. I suppose I can see why it is an award winning novel. It still has me thinking about it and I really felt like I was there with Ma and Jack. But that doesn't mean it was enjoyable for me. Others may like it but it was so not my thing.

I was pretty conflicted about writing a review about this book since I didn't like it. I think I wanted to put my thoughts out there in hopes that others might offer their thoughts in response. This subject matter was just so...horrifying, really. These things actually happen. There are predators out there like Old Nick. It was hard to separate that knowledge from the fiction I was reading and it was very uncomfortable for me.

I just have to bring up how it was written. The whole novel is told from the perspective of Jack. He's quite a bright little guy but reading the story in his words makes it clear how hard it could be to raise a child in such conditions. Ma (so weird that we don't actually know her name) was a real heroine. Thinking about what she had to go through to keep both of them alive and trying to stay with it enough for her son...unbelievable.

In a way I'm glad I got to read Room. I've been hearing about Emma Donoghue's novel for awhile now (it was a huge deal when it was published in 2010) so now I know what all the hype is about. Like I said, I'm sure others may like it and may be able to handle the disturbing plot. I just have no idea who I would be able to recommend it to. Has anyone else read this one? I'd love to know what you thought of this novel.

Here's hoping for a more cheerful pick for the next reading bingo book!

Happy reading :)

This will be filled in by the end of 2013!

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