Q & A with Emma Donoghue discussion

467 views
Jack

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kirstin (new)

Kirstin (myromancereviews) | 1 comments I was very surprised that Jack's whole world was the 11x11 room and Ma kept it that way from the beginning. I would have assumed that she would have taught him what the whole world was like for when they got out until I realized that she had no hope of ever escaping. It seemed so depressing that she viewed that room as the only life her son would ever have. What made you decide to write Ma's character like that for a good portion of the novel and then make her actually plan an escape?
I loved the book!


message 2: by Marian (new)

Marian | 3 comments Kirstin wrote: "I was very surprised that Jack's whole world was the 11x11 room and Ma kept it that way from the beginning. I would have assumed that she would have taught him what the whole world was like for wh..."


message 3: by Pauline (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) Was letting Jack tell the story the only narrative you considered, or did you think of letting Ma (or a narrator) do the talking instead?


message 4: by Lyla (new)

Lyla Ibrahim (lylaibrahim) How did you think to use a 5-year-old boy as the narrator?


message 5: by Alexa (new)

Alexa | 2 comments What was your inspiration for Jack? What did you do to understand how a 5-year-old boy would act if he lived in such an isolated place? And what helped give you the idea of how he would react to being on the Outside? And last, although you didn't write about it, how do you think Jack would have grown up in the Outside?


message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 1 comments Hi Emma,
Great book! I found the premise incredibly interesting and the description of Ma and Jacks' 'home' to be very detailed. It made me look at my 'room' in a new way! In a world today where there is such hurry and complexity in everyday life...I was intrigued to view Jack as a boy who was able to use his imagination to create an interesting space for himself, without a multitude of toys and such. What kind of research did you do to get inside the head of a 5 year old?


message 7: by Steven (new)

Steven (StevenA) | 1 comments I really enjoyed 'Room', but I was just wondering where Jack picked up his individual way of speaking from, seeing as the only influences on his speech patterns before leaving Room would have been from Ma, People on the Television, and Old Nick.
Brilliant writing, by the way.


message 8: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Manus (kdemanus) | 5 comments Are you considering a sequel to Room? I'm asking because I am curious about how Jack adjusts to the world around him.


message 9: by Özlem (new)

Özlem Tutar (ozlemtutar) This is one of the best books I've read recently. I couldnt help comparing it to other literary novels where the narrator is a child, like The God of Small Things, Fault Lİnes, To Kill a Mocking Bird, etc. I believe this is one of the best 5 books of its kind and definately a strong literary work. I wonder if you ever thought about Jack being a girl? What would have changed in the book? Is there any special reason why you chose a boy instead of a girl? Would it be more frightening for Ma because of Nick? These are whats going on in my head recently. thank you


message 10: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Kirstin wrote: "I was very surprised that Jack's whole world was the 11x11 room and Ma kept it that way from the beginning. I would have assumed that she would have taught him what the whole world was like for wh..."

I think to raise your child knowing 'we are prisoners and everything good is beyond that locked door' would stunt him indeed. Oddly like that medieval Catholic teaching (I say this as a former Catholic) of 'life is a vale of tears, better mortify the flesh and hope to die young and go to heaven'!


message 11: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Ozlem wrote: "This is one of the best books I've read recently. I couldnt help comparing it to other literary novels where the narrator is a child, like The God of Small Things, Fault Lİnes, To Kill a Mocking Bi..."
Thanks for the comparisons, I like them all.
Yes, I very deliberately made Jack a boy. Not because a girl would be more at risk from Old Nick sexually, in the early years, because really he's not a pedophile, just a common-or-garden rapist. But because I wanted Jack and Ma together to represent the whole human race: I was planting echoes of Adam and Eve, Mary and Jesus etc. And mostly because I feared that if it was the story of a man locking up a woman and a girl it would be read as some kind of crudely feminist parable about male evil. Jack being male helps readers to see that it's not maleness that's the problem, it's Old Nick's fundamental selfishness.


message 12: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Pauline wrote: "Was letting Jack tell the story the only narrative you considered, or did you think of letting Ma (or a narrator) do the talking instead?"

Never: Jack's unique point of view was the whole idea of ROOM.


message 13: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Steven wrote: "I really enjoyed 'Room', but I was just wondering where Jack picked up his individual way of speaking from, seeing as the only influences on his speech patterns before leaving Room would have been ..."

In my experience, kids put together a unique package of language based on what they hear, how they see things, and the universals of kid grammar; they don't end up sounding like either Dad or Spongebob Squarepants.


message 14: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Jennifer wrote: "Hi Emma,
Great book! I found the premise incredibly interesting and the description of Ma and Jacks' 'home' to be very detailed. It made me look at my 'room' in a new way! In a world today whe..."

Followed mine (he was five by the time I was drafting the novel) round the house!


message 15: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Alex wrote: "What was your inspiration for Jack? What did you do to understand how a 5-year-old boy would act if he lived in such an isolated place? And what helped give you the idea of how he would react to be..."
Jack's future: the main reason I won't be writing about it is that I'm very much hoping he gets more ordinary by the year. That he gets to fade into normality, and perhaps even forget almost everything about Room.


message 16: by Laura (new)

Laura | 7 comments I must admit, I was sceptical about reading it at the beginning because it was from Jack's point of view. It was, however, one of the greatest books I've ever read because it was written from Jack's point of view.
I most enjoyed how Jack's explanation of things, that didn't make sense to him, but were clear and understandable for us as readers.
My question: how did Jack's character develop? What was the thought process you had to do through to give us Jack?


message 17: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) I think writing the book from 5 year old, Jack's perspective was brilliant. It made a horrifying situation readable. I started reading the book tentatively, but I couldn't put it down!


message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarah_mxw) | 1 comments Hi Emma,

Thank you for writing such a great book. I found that writing the book from Jack's point-of-view was a brilliant idea. I did find myself becoming agitated with Jack’s character though, but that just showed me how well you wrote the book in Jack’s point-of-view. With that emotion it made me understand how Ma felt and the strength that she had to have had in order for her to protect her son the best way she could and knew how. I couldn't put this book down. Thanks again for such a well-written book!


message 19: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "I must admit, I was sceptical about reading it at the beginning because it was from Jack's point of view. It was, however, one of the greatest books I've ever read because it was written from Jack'..."

Very basically the recipe was as follows: I studied my five-year-old son, who is bright, energetic, imaginative, chatty and adores toys. Then I considered all the ways Room (including poverty of resources, the underlying nervousness about Old Nick, and Ma's childrearing methods) would shape a boy's character. So Jack became much more neat, focused, thrifty and linguistically advanced - and rather more tense - than my son. Finally I added a good dollop of folk-hero-style heroism.


message 20: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 12 comments Kathy wrote: "I think writing the book from 5 year old, Jack's perspective was brilliant. It made a horrifying situation readable. I started reading the book tentatively, but I couldn't put it down!"

In this way, it is similar to Angela's Ashes,


message 21: by Linda (new)

Linda (mspianobug) My 85 year old mom has just finished reading Room and loved it. She said she gives it 5 stars. Anyway, she would like a sequel about Jack and how things go for him; what kind of a person he becomes, etc.


back to top