Room Room discussion

Evelyn Valenzuela's Summer Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Evelyn Room. Where a little boy and his mom lived for 7 years. The little boy was named Jack, and his mom was named "Ma" (we never learn her name). Room is what i took is a gardening shed with sound proof walls, and cork lined around the room. There was a passcode to get into and out of that room. It all started with a 19 year old college girl who was kidnapped, raped, and beaten from her captor. She had a healthy baby boy, and a stillborn before then. After having her first born she made sure she kept him safe and never let him socialize with the captor. According to the 5 year old child("Ma" never let him see the captor- she would hide him away in "wardrobe"), room was life, it was were he grew up and where he was born. He doesn't think there is any other humans besides himself and his mom. "Old nick"- who jack calls the captor because he only comes in the night to take away the trash and "have some". Since this is a very serious situation, that serious situation is more bearable in a 5 year old point of view. There were two major themes; the strong bond between mom and son, and children learn from their parents like a blank canvas.

WARNING: A very tiny spoiler...

I fell in love with this book! It was not a hard read because it was narrated by a 5 year old, i would have given this book a 5 star if some things weren't so unreal. His vocabulary was really undeveloped for a 5 year old which could have been due to the fact that he didn't have school or socialized with anyone but his mom. He had more of a 2 year old vocabulary and other things that would have made it more real was how they tried to escape... the plan didn't seem though out and in the real world it wouldn't have worked... Or why didn't the captor ever took charge and demanded to see HIS child in the 5 years? Some things didn't add up but I noticed that it wasn't the main focus in the story. Even after reading the book it kept me wanting more, to know their after life and what really happened when they finally settled down and if they ever separated themselves. The little boy thinks everything that is "Ma's" it is his too, and he believes him and "Ma" are one person. Which doesn't work in "outside". I put quotes around some words because as you know it is from a 5 year old perspective and that is what he tells us he is and what things are. He gives objects life, like "plant", "remote", "tv", etc. It was avery unique read, and i enjoyed how this mom would do so much for her child to get what he needed. Like "gym" which is running around their bed 5 times to get exercise. Or having set meal times, having a routine to shower and sleep. She also had access to a tv but reminded her son that it is all make believe and it's not real. She tried to be a good mother, but she knew that wasn't enough for him. Overall, it was well written and gives you an idea of what was going on in a more humble way.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Whitney Yes it is a very clever book, However, I disagree with you about the little boy. I find he is more advanced the average. Already, he can do math (like squares of numbers) when many kids that age can't even add yet. He knows what things are and can grasp concepts even if he believes they aren't real.

Old Nick never demanded to see his son because he obviously has mental issues. It is very hard to determine what goes on in his mind because those sorts of people are not sane. You have to be pretty sick to kidnap a nineteen year old girl and hold her captive in a room for years. The boy is a symbol of innocence, the very opposite of Old Nick himself. By acknowledging him, Old Nick would have to acknowledge all the terrible things he did to bring him into being in the first place. By ignoring him, Old Nick is able to continue living in the fantasy he created for himself.

The escape actually isn't that far fetched. I mean, it's not like the boy grew wings and flew away. His mom uses her past experience with Old Nick against him. She knows how he disposed of the body of her first child, how he doesn't look at the boy, and how he has to be control. Any escape plot with her actively in it will not work because it will be too suspicious. She rolls Jack into an old carpet and stages the entire room to look and smell like he got sick and died. Old Nick doesn't like seeing Jack's mom so distraught so he agrees to honor her wish that "he find someplace nice for Jack" because it's kind of least he can do after everything. When Jack feels the car stop at a stop sign/light he unrolls the carpet and gets out of the truck, running at the nearest passerby.

Aisling I agree with you Whitney, if anything I felt Jack was possibly a bit too advanced for an average 5yr old but then he has had the exclusive attention of his mother 24/7 so he probably would be more advanced than average.
I didn't find anything unbelieveable in Old Nick not demanding to see his child. As Whitney says he is not mentally a "normal" person, so why expect him to behave in a normal rational manner and again I felt Jack's mother uses the knowledge she has gained of his mental deficiency to manipulate him & ultimately gain their rescue.
I think Room is a tremendous writing achievement but I confess I found the second half deeply distressing, much more than the first part. Writing that now it just dawned on me that in a way the reader is in the same position as Jack, protected from the horror in the first part but hit with the whole thing in the second half. Wonder does anyone else feel like that?

Whitney Yes, Aisling, I understand you. We are sheltered by Jack's innocence in the beginning, and by the end we start to see things through a more mature--for lack of better word--perspective. Whenever Jack gets overwhelmed with the "new" world, then we feel overwhelmed too. This is probably why the second half of the book is, as you say, more distressing.

Lara Dorman-Gajic I do agree with Whitney and Aisling. Though Jack is advanced with basic maths and English he has no experience of what a 'normal' 5 year old goes through. Although we only know what's going on from his perspective we can still piece together the information he gives us with more ease. I believe that having it from Jacks eyes was a great approach because it makes it a bit easier to contemplate the confusion and horror he is always going through. Also, in most books you look through the eyes someone of a similar age and understanding of their own world, so it is like you are waiting for him to uncover things you slightly understand.

back to top