The story of a mother, her son, a locked room and the outside world
Jack is five and, like any little boy, excited at the prospect of presents and cake. He's looking forward to telling his friends it's his birthday, too. But although Jack is a normal child in many ways – loving, funny, bright, full of energy and questions – his upbringing is far from ordinary: Jack's entire life has been spent in a single room that measures just 12 feet by 12 feet; as far as he's concerned, Room is the entire world.
He shares this world with his mother, with Plant, and tiny Mouse (though Ma isn't a fan and throws a book at Mouse when she sees him). There's TV too, of course – and the cartoon characters he thinks of as his friends – but Jack knows that nothing else he sees on the screen is real. Old Nick, on the other hand, is all too real, but only visits at night – like a bat – when Jack is meant to be asleep and hidden safely in Wardrobe. And only Old Nick has the code to Door, which is otherwise locked...
Told in Jack's voice, Room is the story of a mother's love for her son, and of a young boy's innocence (from publisher's site).
Have you guys heard of ROOM? It has such a hauntingly gorgeous evocative cover and has won so many awards since it's August 2010 release.
The premise of Room is simple:
ROOM 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. (from author's site)
~ and while the premise may be nothing entirely new, I can honestly say I have never read another book like it.(Read the first chapter @ Amazon for a taste of the prose).
With the book being told from Jack's five-year old POV it puts a whole new slant on the tale ~ while the subject matter may imply it's a suspense thriller, it doesn't read like it at all. There are undertones of the horror of the situation (that we, as readers, bring to the book, reading between the lines) but as Jack narrates the book has an almost fairytale, other-worldly quality to it. (his universe is the room ~ and simple objects become proper nouns, Door, Bed, Fork, etc, are like characters in the story) His Room is an adventure to him ~ his days fascinating one day after another, he's ignorant that he is a captive. It's a conceptually bold idea and makes for utterly compelling reading.
Jack's a funny kid. He's like this odd cross between an alien visitor, regular boy-child and mini Dalai Lama with a wise old soul, haha.
It took me a few pages to adjust to the narration and slip into the rhythm of the story ~ but once I did I was hooked and found ROOM to be two-am-in-the-morning-unputdownable. Even where it occasionally lulled in the pacing/suspense I was so hooked I wanted to see what was going to happen.
ROOM is a perfect book for a book club. It's unique, additive and oh-my-gosh psychologically head-spin-ny. Plot-wise I don't want to give anything away but it's a little bit The Jungle Book-esque. (and I love the psychological exploration)
I wish I had read this with my book club because I have an overflowing head full of stuff to discuss. I am torn about this book.
It is one of the most compelling, fascinating and unique books I have read. I gulped it up and was completely absorbed. I'm glad I read it and it was a startling and absorbing reading experience
I was left buzzing with points of discussion.
A little miffed and incredulous at the mid-point deus ex-machina (!).
I thought the second half was equally compelling and frustrating. I loved the themes in the second half but felt they were occasionally too obvious (as if the author had fallen a bit out of the story and into showcasing some thoughts on modern society/the human condition). In parts it felt rushed and Jack's POV overly wise and insightful.
The two halves of the book were distinctly different and I'm not sure how well they meshed together? It made me feel a touch dizzy, somehow.
I loved reading ABOUT the characters but I am not sure I really CARED for them (although ~ it makes me think, do I need to care about characters to enjoy a book? Evidently not as I did fly turbo-charged through ROOM).
The ending niggled at me (as in, what ending (!?) it kind of petered out...). I'm a little unsure why Jack had such a funky dialect? ~ all twisty grammar (which I did enjoy to read ~ very cute and had a perfect kind of literary rhythm). But why did he talk like that? O.o
And I could have a good long chat with you over a hot chocolate about a dozen things that got me scratching my head/pondering life kind of stuff ~ but I won't for spoilers...
It was a wild, utterly unique reading experience. I loved reading it. I got all hot and bothered by it. And am insanely impressed at how brave this book is. It's really something different and no wonder it has people buzzing and it's being nominated for all kinds of prestigious awards.
Recommended:If you're looking for something creative and original, something to captivate you, make you think and a story to become absorbed in CHECK IT OUT. It's a little different and it may have you bewildered in parts (let me know what you think!) but overall it's an awesome reading experience for all ages, hey.
(If you struggle at the beginning, I recommend giving it 30 pages or so to get used to the narration style ~ after that you'll be hooked and not even notice it. I ended up liking the narration as one of my stand-out fave things about the book :)
Room @ Pan Macmillan
Emma Donohue's website
Room @ goodreads
A few of my favourite international covers:
Have you read Room?
Are you intrigued?
Which cover do you love the most?
(they are all pretty stand-out-ish)
Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this startling and absorbing review copy
AND thank you all who entered my Elizabeth Scott STEALING HEAVEN giveaway :D
The random.org winner was