Room by Emma Donoghue

[rating=4] Riveting. Read this nearly in one sitting. Incredibly well crafted, ‘Room’ is a crazy but successful exercise in trying to inhabit the minds of people whose experience is far outside your own ken.

I wonder if Emma Donoghue wrote this purely from reading reports of abductions, or if she interviewed women who have lived through this particular hell – the frame of the story is a hybrid of several high-profile kidnapping cases, particularly those of Colleen Stan and Jaycee Dugard.

Narrating from the POV of Jack, the five year old, was a wise choice. It allows the nightmare of their situation to be blunted by his lack of full comprehension; wordplay comedy and bath time and ‘Dora the Explorer’ dull the knife edge of fear that gripped me every time I witnessed the mother protecting Jack from the brutal truth.

Beyond her stoicism and endurance, Ma’s creativity blew my mind; the toys they build from trash and the games she invents – particularly ‘Parrot’ – were so inventive and educational I wanted to take notes.

Probably one of the scariest books I have read in a long time, because of the awful reality that such abominable acts do happen. Worth reading.

For more gripping drama and compelling reading, you might try…

1) Lionel Shriver’s ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’

2) Ami McKay’s ‘The Birth House’

3) Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’

4 of 5 stars / bookshelves: read, 321 pages, Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (2010)
Read from July 28 to 30, 2012

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