It’s been a while since I added to this blog’s virtual bookshelf, though I’ve been keeping up with my Goodreads account. I just finished a novel too good not to share with as many people as possible. I can remember the first time I picked it up at Elliot Bay Books. The year was 2010, I was a new mother and attracted by the cover art: primary colors, child’s handwriting. I read the first several pages and though I didn’t have the budget for a brand new hardcover, I was captivated enough to make a mental note. Read this. Life happened, my reading list grew and shifted. So many books, so little time.
I don’t remember how I remembered it, but I did. Last week I checked out Room by Emma Donoghue from the Seattle Public Library, and I read it in three busy days. Room is told from the perspective of five year old Jack. An angel of a boy who loves his Ma, Dora the Explorer and Dylan the Digger. He was born in Room, a garden shed converted to a prison cell, where his Ma has been held captive for seven years. He has never left Room. Ma and Jack have no windows, but they have Skylight, TV, Sundaytreat (brought by Ma’s captor, Old Nick) and one another. To Jack, Room contains the world, ten feet by ten feet.
Ma has attempted to escape many times, every day in fact (Jack calls this Scream), without success. The walls are layered with soundproofing materials and a chain link fence. Not until Jack turns five does he learn that he is a prisoner. A whole world, a dizzying world, exists somewhere Outside. Though he’d rather stay in the only home he’s ever known, Jack follows Ma’s directions and makes the Great Escape. I won’t give away any more, except for to say that I never imagined Ma’s ingenious plan would work, until it did, and then I couldn’t imagine any other way out. She solved the ultimate riddle, she made a world out of a garden shed for her son, and she got out of the garden shed to show her son the world.
This book captured the absolute devotion and love of not only a mother for her child, but also a child for his mother. It is a story of bravery, perspective and love. Read this book, and prepare to be changed. I am.