Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stacey's CBRIII Review #1 - Room by Emma Donoghue

I have no idea how to effectively review a book as it’s not something I have done a lot of in the past so I am just going to spout out my thoughts and hope that someone out there can sort through them accordingly. I am also trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible so hooray for vagueness. Here we go:

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book but it got rave reviews from a friend and fellow book enthusiast, Morgan so I figured I’d give it a shot. And after reading it all I really have to say is, wowza.

I’ve been known to not be a fan of the outside world. Especially if it’s hot or really cold or there are bugs. Outside is really my favorite while drinking on a patio. That is really where I flourish outside. That being said, I think I would have already choked myself out with the toilet seat if I had been locked in a room for seven years. Especially when you find out that the only books to read in Room are Twilight, DaVinci Code and a few others. Kill me dead.

As a person who has been stuck in a house with children on a rainy day or on a cold-ass day in winter knows how taxing it can be to try and entertain a child without venturing outside.   Now imagine never taking that child outside the house for five years. Yeah. Do you want to slit your wrists yet?

Room is about a woman, Ma, and her son, Jack. They have been locked in an 11 x 11 room for years and they are only brought things from the outside world from a scary man they call “Old Nick.” Jack was born in Room and it is the only world that he knows.

The book is told through five-year-old Jack’s point of view. Jack has never been outside. Ever. He’s making sense of things the best that he can. He sounds smart for a five-year-old that has been stuck in a room with his mother his entire life. He has had no distractions, no video games, no other children to play with and he doesn’t even get to watch that much TV.  He’s been sheltered like none other.

A number of things happen in the first few chapters where your mind thinks, “Wait a tick, can we back it up just a little bit???” and you have to go back and reread to make sure that you just read what you think you just read. And then you’re all “Well that’s unsettling…” The entire first half of the book is like this where you mind is trying to figure out what is going on. You find yourself second guessing what just happened partly because of the bizarre nature of what you are reading and partly because Jack is the narrator.  Ma has taught Jack everything she knows about the outside world but that still leaves a lot of questions unanswered for him so both Jack and the reader are both confused as to what is really going on in this room.

Room is loosely based on Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who imprisoned his daughter for 24 years in his basement.  Room isn’t quite as fucked-up as all that (truth, always stranger than fiction) but there are quite a few similarities.

It’s hard to not go into more detail about this book and not give anything away. I enjoyed the book. I was warned that I wouldn’t be able to put it down and I couldn’t. I constantly wanted to find out what was going to happen next and, to me at least, that is the mark of any good book. If you like bizarre, fucked-up fiction that may make you a little uneasy, this is the book for you. I found myself both touched and completely weirded out through the entire book.

How’d I do? I hope to hit my book reviewing stride soon, so just stick with me. I will get there.


Anonymous said...

Great review! I have heard good (?) things about this book too.

Sherrie Bee Bop said...

You made me want to read it. Win?

Stacey Garrett said...

If I made you want to read a book thats not about sparkling emo vampires, I have done my job. Bravo me!

Peezy said...


And yeah, I actually kinda wanna read it now just because I've had that thought before. What if the government raised someone in a room all alone with no human contact. Just robots bringing them food and shit. Would they figure out how to do things on their own? Then what if you waited until they were full grown and then just threw them out into Times Square.

The Mean Beene said...

Nice review! It is really hard to review this book without giving too much away-but this is a GREAT read. I even cried a little during this book.

Peezy said...

So where's Emma Donoghue's comment?

Stacey Garrett said...

It's coming? Doubtful. but yeah. I have had two comments today from people I don't know, it's been a banner day for me and my shitty blog regardless.

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