Holy guacamole, what a story!! Sometimes I wonder where these authors come up with the concepts for their books. Emma Donaghue's novel, Room, takes the reader into an incredibly disturbing world but makes her feel completely at home in this world. Donaghue tells a story from the perspective of a 5 year-old boy, Jack. In doing so, we come to view the events that unfold with the same innocence that he does.
Without giving away much of the plot, I can tell you that Jack's world is very small. He knows two people but his universe has many characters. Jack's imagination brings him so far beyond his physical limits that I'd venture to say that he's seen more than I have. His Ma has created for him such a lovely life.
When we discover why Jack's world is so compact, it's hard to maintain a comparable level of optimism and joy for his lifestyle as Jack. But here is the brilliance of Donaghue's writing-- she helps us see clearly; through Jack's eyes, we understand that it's not what but who we have that matters in life.
This novel isn't one in which it's easy to find the bright side. It's a difficult story and doesn't get any easier as circumstances change for Jack and his Ma. But, I think that's necessary-- we live in a 24-hour news cycle culture. We give attention to people's lives only when they're sensational, over the top and dramatic. But, once we've deemed another bit of news more interesting, we move on, we forget, we ignore. But, the original story continues, even without the news coverage. And, sadly, just because the paparazzi have moved on doesn't mean that the drama has ended. Readjusting, rebuilding, renewing one's life is a challenging and difficult task. Unfortunately, it's one that doesn't often allow for much imagination.
Jack's story is powerful and heart-wrenching. It's one that will draw you in and keep you on the edge of your seat until you finish. There was actually a moment when I gasped out loud. (Unfortunately, Andrew was asleep at the time and I woke him up. That's a true sign of a good book!!) Read it. And tell me you don't close the cover and say "wowza..."