Room by Emma Donoghue

I picked this book up as I was curious to see the stream of conscious approach to narrating that Donoghue had adopted with the curious twist of being through the eyes of a five year old boy; Jack. His innocent naivety allows the reader to really empathise with the character as we are introduced to his ‘friends’ being characters on the television and inanimate objects around the world.

I was thinking that the book would be a constant barrage of tear jerking ‘pull on the heart strings’ tales of how bad Jack’s childhood is. However, even in Room there are some really tender moments and Donoghue raises the question over whether or not life inside the walls of their prison is any better for the child’s upbringing than the harsh realities of life in the modern world.

One slightly irritating aspect of the book is the way that Jack lapses into very elegant language that would not be befitting of a child of his age, but this seems to be a trait of many authors who have tried writing from the child’s perspective. Donoghue attempts to get around this by implying that his literacy is extremely advanced but it still seemed a little lazy as a way of getting through more adult aspects of the book. Seeing life outside of Room through Jack’s eyes for the first time is brilliantly orchestrated however, and makes for very believable reading.

Overall, I think that this was a fantastic book that tackled some extremely challenging subject matter that will at times make the reader uncomfortable. Donoghue trusts the reader to make their own interpretations of the characters in it, especially Ma, and you cannot help but get angry or happy with them as the novel progresses. All in all a very well written piece of literature that you cannot help but become thoroughly engrossed in.

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