The first half of this book was outstanding.
Although this book was let down a little by the second half, the first half was good enough to raise it to an overall 5. I'm sorry it did not win this year's Booker Prize.
The depiction of Jack as a five-year old, raised from birth in a twelve square metre Room, with only his mother for company, was sheer brilliance - I even found myself looking at things in my house with a capital letter in front of them. His mother spends every waking hour keeping him entertained, teaching him to read and write and doing 'phys ed' round the bed. Except for the times when she sinks into deprssion and is Gone for a day. The only other living person in this part of the book is Old Nic, Ma's abductor, but Jack is kept away from him, hidden in the bottom of Wardrobe at night. The highlight of their week is Sundaytreat and they spend all week assessing the best use of this one special request.
The second half of the book, spent in Outside, details the shock of coming out of a confined space after 7 years. Jack seems to cope with all these new experiences better than Ma, but then, to him it's an adventure; to Ma it's a return to an old, distantly remembered, life. Details like sun and eye protection rang true but some of the personal interactions with professionals and relatives and even the general public, fell short in places. The book just seemed to go off the boil a bit here.
Nevertheless it was one of those rare books of pure enjoyment and is one I shall read again and recommend widely, if you haven't already read it then give it a go!