Friday, September 24, 2010


The Book: Room

The Author: Emma Donoghue

The Dealio: This is-basically- a novelisation of the Jaycee Dugard story. Told entirely through the observations of a five year old boy who has known nothing but one 11' by 11' room, his 'ma' and, occasionally, almost incidentally, 'Old Nick', the man who kidnapped his Ma when she was just 19 years old. When the world collapses down on itself to include-for the most part-only two, it provides a unique opportunity to see things- everyday things-from the perspective of an explorer in a strange, new land. This is the perspective Room allows us.

The Grading Session: 4.899 pengies out of 5. Now, any of you who know me at all, right about now would be checking for a stem at the base of my skull. I must surely have been body-snatched if said that I am going to recommend this book. Heck-you might be tempted to do that if I even told you I had read this book. Of my own free will. However, I did have to deduct a smidgen of a pengie for the occasional lapse in narration, when our hero, Jack, suddenly begins to talk like William F. Buckley, Jr. Or, well, at least Christopher Buckley. But Donoghue, overall, does a first rate job of conveying the ways in which children so readily adapt to things that are presented to them as 'just the way things are'. There is beauty, and hope, dread and desperation in this book, and I found it as compelling, as horrifying and as smile-inducing a story as I have read in a long time. NOTE: Yes, the central theme is as horrifying a premise as I can imagine. But there is no graphic depiction of the kidnapping, nor what came after.

Lessons Learned: Never give up hope. Also, don't assume that children don't know what is going on. They, mostly, do, and simply fill in the empty spots with their-fertile- imaginations. Lastly, in a world composed entirely of two, a mother and a child, who is really helping the other survive?

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