Sometimes you find a book which means that you have to abandon everything and just keep on reading. It doesn’t happen often but when it does its as good as hot buttered toast when you are cutting out carbs.
Room by Emma Donoghue tells the story of Jack. Jack is five and lives in Room with his Ma and Rug and Roof and Walls and Wardrobe and Bed. Jack plays games and exercises with Ma and twice a day gets to watch Dora the Explorer and others on TV. Jack tells us his story in his own words about the fun he has and the things he learns. He knows that Room is eleven feet by eleven feet and that he was born on Rug. He knows that nothing he sees on TV is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. At night he sometimes has to sleep in Wardrobe in case Old Nick comes to visit Ma. Ma doesn’t like Old Nick but she has to be nice to him because he brings food and Sunday Treats. When Jack is five Ma tells him that there’s a world outside…
Jack’s voice is one of the reasons this book is so great. His innocence and his love for Ma shine through and stay with me. But it is not all joy and the dark side of this book is told in a most unusual way. It would be hard to read otherwise but because it is told from a five-year-old’s point of view it is just so poignant.
This book has been nominated for the Booker Prize and if it isn’t the winner, or at least short-listed, then there is something wrong. And if you do have a look at it on Amazon, don’t read all the reviews (most are 5 star) because some of them do spoil the story.