30. Room: Emma Donoghue

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This was one of my book club’s choices which I was quite interested to read. I started it because I was finding Bring Up the Bodies a little hard going and as I had an e-book of this it’s easier to read in breaks at work.

Written, I believe, in the wake of the Josef Fritzl revelations, Room is told through the eyes of a five year old boy who has lived his whole life in a shed, born to a mother who had been abducted and repeatedly raped. Jack’s mother has protected him from her captor and tried to give him a good life, making sure he eats healthily, does exercise and is able to read and write. She reveals to him that there is an outside world and eventually plans their escape. The second half of the book (don’t read on if you don’t want a spoiler) is about their new found freedom which turns out to be difficult for them both.

Written in Jack’s childish (though exceptionally advanced… With only a few books, a TV and one adult for company would he really know that much?) language, makes it an easy read both in terms of style and in the way that such a harrowing ordeal is approached with good humour. It ends rather suddenly, reading this on the ipad I had no idea I was at the end. I was glad it didn’t dwell too long on life in the room and enjoyed the second half, with Jack having to make difficult readjustments, more. It is a clever and topical book, with some interesting things to say about modern life and what constitutes “normality”.

3.5 / 4 stars

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