Book review: Room

I read this book in a day.  It is a disturbing book, but like a car crash, hard to look away.  Room is told from the point of view of 5 year old Jack.  You soon discover that he lives in 'Room' and has lived there forever because he thinks this eleven by eleven room is the entire world.  He lives with his Ma and they fill their days with exercises and small chores.  His friends include Dora on TV who he talks to and he thinks is talking back to him.  But at night he has to hide in 'Wardrobe' because Old Nick comes into the room to sleep with his Ma (unlocking the electronic combination door lock to come in).

It is all quite horrifying, but the relationship between Jack and his Ma is incredible, as is her determination to protect Jack.  I won't spoil the plot for you, but I'll just say that it doesn't all remain so depressing as the book goes on.  Beautifully and cleverly written.  Shortlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize and a worthy member of that shortlist.

What I learnt about myself through reading this book was interesting.  I've commented before that I'm fascinated by stories about people who survive extreme, isolating experiences and this book falls into that category.  I've realised that I'm fascinated because I can't imagine myself ever coping or staying sane through such isolating experiences.  Being part of a community, connected to others is very important to me.  I've mostly always lived in community - in a Bible college as a child, in boarding school in high school, next door to a church through uni, in colleges/schools/churches as an adult.  And maybe that's why I like having lots of children - a little community right in my house.

So thanks for reading this year - my little blog community- and I look forward to sharing another year with you in 2012.


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