Michelle's Reviews > Room

Room by Emma Donoghue
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Apr 09, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: book-club-2
Read in March, 2012

I teetered between giving this one or two stars. What the hell is wrong with me? I went to a book club meeting and was the only person criticizing it. I feel like a book snob because everybody's read or reading this book and everybody likes it. It was just okay.

The story is told from a five-year-old's perspective. This was normally okay with me. And I guess made it more digestible because to read it from the mom's perspective (the squeaking bed parts) would have been terrible. But sometimes I just felt like, This is gimmicky. Especially because sometimes the kid seemed so smart--his mom taught him as well as she could, he watched television, he could mimic very well--but sometimes the way he talked and thought felt like, This doesn't jibe with his obvious intelligence level.

So much of this book felt unrealistic. And I realize that might be ridiculous for me to say, because who am I to say how this situation should play out? Maybe the author did a lot of research on similar cases, child development, etc. **SPOILERS** But why didn't the mom try to figure out the combination to get out of the shed? That wasn't well-explained (or ever explained? Did I miss this?). Okay, Old Nick loses his job...which drives the mother to think, What? That he'll kill them? Or just abandon them? I'm not so sure, but it seems like he's done quite a lot to keep them, and to keep them alive, so I'm not sure where her fear comes from. Her fear is so great that she devises a scheme for her five-year-old to pretend he's dead, roll him up in a rug, then beg Old Nick not look at him but to bury him far away. We really think this is going to work?! Well, it does. And she also depends on her five-year-old to escape from the rug in the back of a truck and find help. You know, the five-year-old that has never lived outside a shed. Magically, this works. I will give you this--that was some crazy suspense. I was pretty certain Old Nick would go back and kill the mother and was on the edge of my seat. After a really boring first half of the book where I felt like, Omigod, we're never getting out of this room, are we? Oh, I'm sorry--we're never getting out of Room. Where Rug and Table live. I understand the capitalization but this still drove me bananas.

Anyhoodle, the second half of the book we're out of the shed! Somehow, this woman, who at 19 was kidnapped, has raised a smart, nice, disciplined kid. She has gotten them out of the shed (or she got him to get them out). She gets one bit of criticism, criticism that I think she expected, and attempts to commit suicide. What? That doesn't jibe either. And why are the people in the hospital letting her control her own meds anyway? That doesn't happen. So the five-year-old, Jack, lives with Grandma for a while, Mom gets better, and they go to live in an apartment together. For real? Because if I was kidnapped and kept hostage for, what, seven years, I would be living with my momma forever. With some crazy security system.

I can't even.
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