Room by Emma Donoghue

I received an arc of Room via Shelf-Awareness during my summer of moves. It sounded intriguing at the time but a bit dark for a summer read so it was packed away for future consumption. Now several months later it’s on numerous bestseller lists and everyone is talking about it. In case you’re wondering if you should pick up the book on your next bookstore excursion or Kindle splurge I’m going to offer up a resounding yes!

Room by Emma Donoghue is the first book in quite some time that made me want to stay up all night reading. I literally couldn’t put it down and practically broke my leg one morning when I was so engrossed in the pages that I didn’t notice the escalator had arrived at the top of Porter Square Station. If a book makes you look like a fool then it has to be a keeper.

Admittedly I was a bit wary of the subject matter examined in the story. Lately the press has had a field day recounting the stories of kidnapped women who were held captive for years by sadistic people — did I really want to read about that sort of horror in my free time? To help the reader overcome these feelings Donoghue has quite brilliantly written this harrowing and heartbreaking tale from the point of view of Jack, the captive woman’s five-year-old son. A son she conceived against her will during her years of imprisonment.

Jack and Ma live in Room which is essentially a fortified shed in their captor’s backyard. Room is the only world that young Jack has ever known. The only contact they have with the outside world is via an old television and the nightly visits from “Old Nick” their jailer. The imaginative use of language and the world that Ma is able to weave for Jack is truly astonishing. I believe you’ll find yourself simply overwhelmed by the creative ways she manages to teach, inform, protect, and entertain her son in such a hostile environment.

I know I’m bordering on gushing over this story but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it. I promise you’ll fall in love with Jack and revel in his bravery and perseverance. Don’t shy away from this title just because it’s “ripped from the headlines” a la a Law and Order episode. Room is a book that begs reading and then a prompt hand-off to your best friend so that the two of you can discuss it over wine.