23 down, 29 to go

Title: Room
Author: Emma Donoghue

I have seen this book everywhere, but surprisingly knew no one who had read it. I put it on hold at the library but there were more than fifty people in front of me in the queue. So when it finally arrived, I don’t know that I was in the right frame of mind to read it. This book is definitely not a light and fluffy tale.

Room tells the story of a girl who was kidnapped at 19 and enslaved in a 12 x 12 room for the next 7 years. During which time, she gives birth a son Jack, who only knows the world in terms of the room. While they do have access to a television, the girl makes Jack believe that world only exists on television.

The story begins in the room and you get a feel for their existence in the tiny space. However, about halfway through the book, the mother and son escape and you get to experience them being reintroduced to the real world. While I have never experienced being captured like that, I find the mother’s reaction to being released to be unrealistic. To be truthful, I found the reactions of everyone involved to be really unrealistic.

Jack was well educated in the room and this explains his exceptional vocabulary. However, he’s still five. And as someone who has spent some quality time with bright, young children, I still don’t find his behavior believable.

I’m going to nitpick, but I think I lost all credibility for the characters and the story with this one detail. They are trapped in this room with a television to watch, but it requires bunny ears to watch it. Which, I suppose, could be plausible if the story took place in a different era. But they were watching the Backyardigans which is, to my knowledge, not on basic television. And even if it were, you can no longer use old school bunny ears for television.

It’s a minor detail, but to me it shows the author didn’t do her homework. And it gives credence to the possibility she didn’t really do any research on how someone might react after an incidence like this. It makes me believe she doesn’t really know how a five-year old would talk and behave. While it might be accurate, she set herself up for me to not believe her. And I didn’t.

I don’t say this often, but I honestly kind of hated this book. Others are giving it quite the praise, but I simply cannot endorse it.

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About indie librarian

a recently MLS librarian's observations
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