Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Room by Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

About the Author
Born in Dublin, Ireland, in October 1969, I am the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue (the literary critic, Henry James Professor at New York University).  I attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one eye-opening year in New York at the age of ten.  In 1990 I earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin (unfortunately, without learning to actually speak French).  I moved to England, and in 1997 received my PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. From the age of 23, I have earned my living as a writer, and have been lucky enough to never have an ‘honest job’ since I was sacked after a month as a chambermaid. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 I settled in London, Ontario, where I live with Chris Roulston and our son Finn (8) and daughter Una (4).
                                                                                                                    from her website


  1. Fireside Readers23 March 2012 at 13:00

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  2. Fireside Readers24 March 2012 at 09:55

    Fireside Readers were divided about this book – some loved it, some hated it, some liked the first half but not the second; the others preferred the reverse. In other words, Room was a great book club choice. Whether we loved or hated it, Room will remain in our minds and hearts for a long time to come.
    Emma Donoghue’s creativity and skill with language were fascinating. Choosing to have the work narrated by a five year old demanded constant concentration and a deep understanding of childhood development. Although precocious, Jack was in no way ‘precious’ and he proved to be a believable character.
    We admired Ma’s amazing strength and ingenuity, but could understand why she attempted suicide. The impact of moving from the claustrophobic Room to Outside was as great on the reader as it was on Ma and Jack. Ma managed to create a rich environment in a totally deprived circumstances and a number of readers understood why she did not want to tell Jack about outside earlier; his age and their present situation forced her to do so. The reference to Alice in Wonderland was appropriate; Room was Jack’s world and Ma had fallen down the rabbit hole from her world into it.
    The escape proved a sticking point for all of us; we simply did not find it plausible. In the light of this tale of compassion, human spirit and hope, while it disappointed, the escape would not deter any of us from recommending the book.
    Jack’s farewell to Room was poignant. What will happen to Ma and Jack now?