About the Book
This book is told completely from the perspective of Jack, a five-year old who has spent every day of his young life locked in a shed with his Ma and doesn't know anything about what's beyond its walls.
What I think
This book is phenomenally clever. Not only does it take considerable effort to think about how a 5-year old would view things, but Donoghue has invented a language for him that makes it even more credible. On top of that, she has had to invent the way Jack would view things he's never seen "in Outside" before.
The premise of this book is harrowing but, due to the fact that it's told through Jack, who doesn't understand what is going on, it's not uncomfortable to read. There are moments, obviously, when you get a chill as you are reminded of the dark and inhumane setting of the story, but this is not the essence of the book.
The essence is the extremely strong bond between this mother and her son and what they are prepared to do for each other. There are struggles, as with any other parent-child relationship, but ultimately it is this bond, this love, that allows them to survive.
About the Author
Emma Donoghue (b. 1969) grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Catholic convent schools, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. She graduated from University College Dublin in 1990 with a first-class degree in English and French. In 1997 she received her PhD from the University of Cambridge. She has worked as a writer (of drama, literary history, short stories and fiction) ever since. Room was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize (2010) losing out to Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question.