Friday, January 14, 2011

CR Review #4: Room

Seems like everyone is reading Room these days. And like everyone else, I have to say, this is an extremely well-written, mesmerizing tale that I did not particularly enjoy.

As many CBR reviewers have already explained, Room is the story of "Ma" and "Jack", a mother and her 5 year old son who are being held captive in a small, 11x11 shed out in the backyard of a man called "Old Nick". The story is told from the perspective of Jack, who has never known any life other than that of Room. Halfway through the book, Jack and Ma escape (not a spoiler) from Room and then have to struggle with their adjustment to the real world.

While in Room, Ma and Jack fill their days with exercise, arts & crafts, baths, reading, and games. Jack is allowed to watch a little tv (he loves Dora!) and his bed is inside an old wardrobe (so he doesn't have to see Old Nick when he comes to visit Ma at night). Jack thinks he has a pretty good life with Ma inside Room, until one day Ma decides to tell him that there is a whole world outside and that they need to be a part of it.

What I really liked about the book was the voice of Jack. At first I thought it was going to annoy me to no end, but it really worked. As a parent, I was amazed at the never-ending list of games and activities that Ma had dreamed up for Jack. However, ultimately I found the story somewhat upsetting (again, probably because I am a parent), especially when the book described some of Ma's decisions once they had been rescued.

While I didn't really "enjoy" reading Room, I think I would feel comfortable recommending it. A fascinating story told in a unique way.

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