Author: Emma Donoghue.
Genre: Fiction, family, abuse.
Country: Canada and Ireland.
Publication Date: 2010.
Summary: To 5-year-old Jack, Room is the world. It's where he was born. It's where he and Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. But for Ma, Room is the prison where she's been kept since she was 19—for 7 long years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this 11x11-foot space. But these walls can't hold them forever, and in the end it may be up to Jack to break into the world he didn't know existed and save them from an imprisonment the implications of which he doesn't understand.
My rating: 8/10.
My Review: I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did, simply because I'm not a fan of children, and this book is narrated by a 5-year-old. And I will admit that I experienced several moments of extreme frustration where I wanted to climb into the book and strangle that kid for being such a spoiled brat under such horrific circumstances, but in retrospect it is that exactly that makes this book so unique - the limited and unreliable perspective of the narrator does not limit the reader's understanding of the whole circumstances. It's what makes the book so incredibly poignant and disturbing - Jack doesn't know that the horrors he's describing, dressed in childhood fantasy and joy, are actually horrors.
♥ Mountains are too big to be real, I saw one in TV that has a woman hanging on it by ropes. Women aren't real like Ma is, and girls and boys not either. Men aren't real except Old Nick, and I'm not actually sure if he's real for real. Maybe half? He brings groceries and Sundaytreat and disappears the trash, but he's not human like us. He only happens in the night, like bats. Maybe Door makes him up with a beep beep and the air changes. I think Ma doesn't like to talk about him in case he gets realer.
♥ Stealing is when a boy takes what belongs to some boy else, because in books and TV all persons have things that belong just to them, it's complicated.
♥ Outside has everything. Whenever I think of a thing now like skis or fireworks or islands or elevators or yo-yos, I have to remember they're real, they're actually happening in Outside all together. It makes my head tired. And people too, firefighters teachers burglars babies saints soccer players and all sorts, they're all really in Outside. I'm not there, though, me and Ma, we're the only ones not there. Are we still real?
♥ Before I didn't even know to be mad that we can't open Door, my head was too small to have Outside in it. When I was a little kid I thought like a little kid, but now I'm five I know everything.
♥ "You know your heart, Jack?"
"Bam bam." I show her on my chest.
"No, but your feeling bit, where you're sad or scared pr laughing or stuff?"
That's lower down, I think it's in my tummy.
"Well, he hasn't got one."
"A feeling bit," says Ma.
I'm looking at my tummy. "What does he have instead?"
She shrugs. "Just a gap."
Like a crater? But that's a hole where something happened. What happened?
♥ "Scared is what you're feeling," says Ma, "but brave is what you're doing."
♥ "I don't know," says Ma. "How could he not? If he's the least bit human..."
I thought humans were or weren't, I didn't know someone could be a bit human. Then what are his other bits?
♥ I'm in the back of the brown pickup truck like in the story.
I'm not in Room. Am I still me?
♥ "But my other T-shirts—" They're in Dresser, in the lower drawer. They were yesterday so I guess they are now too. But is Room still there when we're not in it?
♥ My cuts hurt everywhere, especially on my knee under my Dora and Boots Band-Aid that's going curly, Ma says that means the cut's getting better. I don't know why hurting means getting better.
♥ "Don't worry about it."
She keeps saying that but I don't know to not worry.
♥ My favorite bit of Outside is the window. It's different every time. A bird goes right by zoom, I don't know what it was. The shadows are all long again now, mine waves right across our room on the green wall. I watch God's face falling slow slow, even orangier and the clouds are all colors, then after there's streaks and dark coming up so bit-at-a-time I don't see it till it's done.
♥ I'm learning lots more manners. When something tastes yucky we say it's interesting, like wild rice that bites like it hasn't been cooked. When I blow my nose I fold the tissue so nobody sees the snot, it's a secret. If I want Ma to listen to me not some person else I say "Excuse me," sometimes I say, "Excuse me, excuse me," for ages, then when she asks what is it I don't remember anymore.
♥ Instead of thinking about the monkeys I think about all the kids in the world, how they're not TV they're real, they eat and sleep and pee and poo like me. If I had something sharp and pricked them they'd bleed, if I tickled them they'd laugh. I'd like to see them bit it makes me dizzy that there's so many and I'm only one.
♥ The woman clears her throat and looks at the paper in her lap. "You say did, you did a 'pretty good job' of raising Jack, although of course the job is far from over. But now you have lots of help from your family as well as many dedicated professionals."
"It's actually harder." Ma's looking down. "When our world was eleven foot square it was easier to control. Lots of things are freaking Jack out right now. But I hate the way the media call him a freak, or an idiot savant, or feral, that word—"
"Well, he's a very special boy."
Ma shrugs. "He's just spent his first five years in a strange place, that's all."
"You don't think he's been shaped—damaged—by his ordeal?"
"It wasn't an ordeal to Jack, it was just how things were. And, yeah, maybe, but everybody's damaged by something."
♥ "Hey, buddy." Here's Paul my Uncle, I didn't know he was let in the dining room. I think buddy is man talk for sweetie.
♥ "I know you're missing your ma, but just for now you need to sleep on your own. You'll be fine, Steppa and I will be just upstairs. You're not afraid of monsters, are you?"
It depends on the monster, if it's a real one or not and if it's where I am.
♥ Grandma comes up. "That was Dr. Clay, your ma is stable. That sounds good, doesn't it?"
It sounds like horses.
♥ "'Human kind cannot bear very much reality.'"
"Is that a poem again?"
"How did you guess?"
"You do a weird voice," I tell him. "What's humankind?"
"The human race, all of us."
"Is that me too?"
"Oh, for sure, you're one of us."
Dr. Clay nods. "She's one too."
But what I actually meant was, maybe I'm a human but I'm a me-and-Ma as well. I don't know a word for us two. Roomers?
♥ "But she's working really hard to get better," he tells me.
I thought people are just sick or better, I didn't know it was work.
♥ When I was four I thought everything in TV was just TV, then I was five and Ma unlied about lots of it being pictures of real and Outside being totally real. Now I'm in Outside but it turns out lots if it usn't real at all.
♥ In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time. Even Grandma often says that, but she and Steppa don't have jobs, so I don't know how persons with jobs do the jobs and all the living as well. In Room me and Ma had time for everything. I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter all over all the world, the roads and houses and playgrounds and stores, so there's only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit.
Also everywhere I'm looking at kids, adults mostly don't seem to like them, not even the parents do. They call the kids gorgeous and so cute, they make the kids do the thing all over again so they can take a photo, but they don't want to actually play with them, they'd rather drink coffee talking to other adults. Sometimes there's a small kid crying and the Ma of it doesn't even hear.
♥ "Let's go," says Steppa, he starts running at the sea.
I stay far back because there'e huge growing bits with white stuff on top, they roar and crash. The sea never stops growling and it's too big, we're not meant to be here.
♥ "Oh, Jack, that's a different one," says Grandma. "There's playgrounds in every town."
Lots of the world seem to be a repeat.
♥ I've been in the world three weeks and a half, and I still never know what's going to hurt.
♥ There's new things every single day.
♥ When I was four I didn't know about the world, or I thought it was only stories. Then Ma told me about it for real and I thought I knowed everything. But now I'm in the world all the time, I actually don't know much, I'm always confused.
♥ "Grandma says there's more of him."
"Persons like him, in the world."
"Ah," says Ma.
"Is it true?"
"Yeah. But the tricky thing is, there's far more people in the middle."
Ma's staring out the window but I don't know at what. "Somewhere between good and bad," she says. "Bits of both stuck together."
♥ "Good-bye, Room."
Ma says it but on mute.
I look back one more time. It's like a crater, a hole where something happened. Then we go out the door.