Q & A with Emma Donoghue discussion

705 views
Welcome

Comments Showing 1-50 of 64 (64 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Emma (last edited Mar 21, 2011 09:25AM) (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Thank you all so much for joining my group. I'm overwhelmed by how many of you have taken time out of your busy, busy lives to read ROOM and talk about it here. I might sometimes like setting the record straight about what I meant or intended, but that's not the same as The Truth. ROOM doesn't belong to me anymore: it's out there, it's yours as much as mine.
Re: the different strands, I'm afraid they're getting as mixed as any conversation in a lively book club does. So if you're interested in any particular topic, such as breastfeeding or Ma's crisis in the second half, you might want to browse through all the strands.


message 2: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Thank you for participating in a Q & A. I've been involved in some great discussions about Room in some of my groups.

I'm a big horror fan, but I also love classics, crime fiction, dark fiction, or just any story that is gripping and brings something new to their genres. Room did this for me. I really enjoyed it, and was so pleased with the characters of Steppa and the grandmother. They reminded me of some of my favorite characters in many of Anne Tyler's novels. They were written as real people just trying to make the best of the shocking development in their lives.

Thanks for Room. :)


message 3: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) | 3 comments Hi I am Diane and I was very excited to see that you were doing a Q&A.

I had read about Room in Oprah magazine and truthfully, I was put off by it because I did not think a book in the voice of a 5 year old would be for me (I am 53 and have no children). Finally, curiosity got the better of me because I heard so many great things about the book. After getting used to Jack 'telling' the story, by about page 50, I was so hooked. Once I finished it, I immediately gave it to another friend who read through it 1 evening. I can't imagine I will ever forget Room!


message 4: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Hi! I'm Melissa. Diane also loaned her copy of Room to me. I wasn't sure what to expect. But like others, I was hooked immediately.

Jack and Ma's time in Room was so intriguing to me, and when the escape happened so early in the book I wondered what could be left to tell. I have to say I was drawn in even more from that point on. I really enjoy stories of survival, mental tenacity, human relationships, and stories that touch on the darker side of mental health .. and this book touched all of those for me.


message 5: by Janet (new)

Janet (janet50) | 2 comments Hi, I'm Janet. I put off reading Room because I was afraid it would be a tough read, and in a way, it was. But Jack's voice was so authentic and full of normal childlike joy, in spite of his circumstances, I'm glad I read it.

Room reminded me of the film, Life is Beautiful, where a loving parent was able to create a happy environment for the child even in the worst of circumstances.


message 6: by H.E. (new)

H.E. Saunders (hesaunders) | 3 comments Hello, I'm H.E. Saunders. As soon as I saw Room, I was dying to have it. I read and loved Slammerkin - my review of it http://bit.ly/g1oPOw - so I was thrilled to pick up Room. I have darker tastes so the subject matter piqued my interest. It is one of my next books to review after wrapping up an interview with Yann Martel regarding Beatrice and Virgil.

Thrilled to have you here with us!
H.E.Saunders


message 7: by Fiona (last edited Mar 08, 2011 02:57AM) (new)

Fiona (cinereum) Hello,

Emma, thank you for hosting this Q & A group. I think that I will find being a part of this group rather fascinating.

I have a number of your books stacked upon my to-read shelf; I chose to read Room first. I am really looking forward to engaging with Slammerkin, Stir-Fry, Inseparable and Passions Between Women: British Lesbian Culture 1668-1801.

I found reviewing Room to be quite challenging; the extensive discussions and comments on my Goodreads profile which followed also felt rather difficult at times. I'll certainly be inviting my friends who feel strongly about this book to join with us here.

I imagine that participating in this group will also be very helpful to me since the Feminist Readers' Discussion Group that I facilitate within my local community have voted to read Room this month. I am hosting a gathering of readers on 6th April and hope to feedback to them my experiences here.

I too am really excited about meeting you here, Emma!


message 8: by Marcia (new)

Marcia Voss | 1 comments As a former English teacher, I was intrigued by the language you created for Jack. It struck me as child-like, humorous, and realistic. I wonder, though, why with his obvious intelligence, his exposure to language on TV, and his mother's use of standard English, why his own use of words didn't become more standardized as time passed?


message 9: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen (missbelgravia) If you have ever read "Goodnight Moon," Jack's use of language would be more understandable. It has been awhile since I read "Room," but I believe "Goodnight Moon" was one of the books Ma read to Jack.


message 10: by Daria (new)

Daria (dariah) | 5 comments Like others here, I initially avoided "Room" because I felt it would be too emotionally difficult to read. A friend hinted that I would be able to read it just fine. I was simply amazed. Jack loved his world! He didn't care that it was only 11 X 11. His mother made his life fascinating and fun. When the reader, through Jack, finally realized ma had been abducted and they were being held prisoner, it was hearbreaking. And yet, Jack's rescue was initally more hearbreaking in a strange way. I really loved this book and it affected me deeply.


message 11: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4 comments I was struck by Jack's feeling of loss over all the things he missed, like Rug. I was fascinated by, yet able to relate to both Jack and Ma as he so deeply wanted Rug with him and she so violently did not. It showed me what a good job Ma did of protecting him from the real horror of what was going on.


message 12: by Bxrlover (last edited Mar 15, 2011 10:22PM) (new)

Bxrlover Emma wrote: "Thank you all so much for joining my group. I will be back on March 21 to begin the discussion. Until then, please feel free to introduce yourselves."

Hi Emma

Although I absolutely loved Room, I read Slammerkin first and if I had to choose between the two, am not sure which I would pick as my favourite.

Just wanted to say hi and tell you how much I admire your writing.


message 13: by Rachelle (new)

Rachelle (awaken80) Hello Ms. Donoghue,

I have not read Room yet, but my dad just bought it for me today as an early birthday present (my birthday is in 3 weeks) so that I could read it in time to participate in this discussion.

I am SO excited! I've wanted to read this book since I first saw it on all kinds of best-of lists for last year and the last decade. The story has sounded very intriguing to me from the start! I just wanted to thank you in advance for hosting this discussion group, and say that I very much look forward to participating in it!

Rachelle :-)


message 14: by Annie (new)

Annie (annie707) | 1 comments Hi there!
I'm excited to be a part of this discussion!
I read Room because of a review in a magazine (not sure which one, sorry!). The review listed it as one of the top 3 novels of the year, so I bought a copy for my Kindle and Room was my first read of 2011.

I really loved the characters in this novel. I felt it a bit slow-moving at first, but once I hit the middle I couldn't put it down. I cried and cried at the end, not because of the story and what was happening, but because I felt so so so close to the mom and the boy and could really feel what they were going through.

Thank you for Room. I am going to read Slammerkin this year. I am really looking forward to the discussion!


Annie


message 15: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 1 comments Hello-

Our book club read and discussed your book last month. I loved this book and the perspective of a captive survivor. I was troubled by Ma's fierce defense of Jack in captivity as contrasted by her self focus following her exposure to freedom. I find it hard to see her ever contemplating suicide? Can you elucidate? Thank you for the opportunity to ask the question. Looking forward to reading more of your thought provoking words. Marsha


message 16: by Steph (new)

Steph Williams (stephhwilliams) | 1 comments Hi, my name is Stephanie and I read Room a little while ago, when a friend recommended and loaned the book. I read the book in two days because I simply couldn't put it down. Looking forward to the open discussion/Q&A next week.
Thanks.


message 17: by Marian (new)

Marian | 3 comments Emma wrote: "Thank you all so much for joining my group. I will be back on March 21 to begin the discussion. Until then, please feel free to introduce yourselves."

I am new to these discussions. What will be the time of the discussion? What is the format? Will the answers be written? Will there be conversations? Will other people be able to read the responses if they are not on line on the 21st?


message 18: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I am looking forward to this Q&A - this is the first one I have joined. I really, really enjoyed Room. I listened to the audiobook - and was very moved and engrossed in the story.

I first heard of this book through the BBC - and I was surprised you didn't win the Booker! The book was so real and very moving. It is hard to describe this book to friends and family. It is a surprising topic to write about but very rewarding to read.


message 19: by Gayle (new)

Gayle (fratmom) Steppa was my favorite character. He needed no blood relation to connect with Jack and to do the right things in helping Jack to adjust.

As soon as I finished this book, I told my twelve-year-old granddaughter, who is an avid reader, about it. She read ROOM in one day and loved it as much as I did.

Even my eight-year-old grandson discussed the story with us. It gave me a chance to teach some valuable life lessons.

I will be forever haunted by this book.


message 20: by Dilly | Book Affairs (last edited Mar 19, 2011 04:15AM) (new)

Dilly | Book Affairs  (dilipickle) | 2 comments Hi Emma, So excited about this Q&A session. I read Room a few months back and it's hands down one of the best books I've read in a long long time! If you have some time do read my review (well, it's hardly a review. Just me gushing on incoherently about how amazing your book is) of it here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

As for me, I'm currently studying Publishing at UCL and hoping I'll one day be able to discover and work with amazing authors like you!


message 21: by Lyla (new)

Lyla Ibrahim (lylaibrahim) I just want to say that I LOVE ROOM. I've never read a book like this before and I love the experience of reading it. Knowing the inside of the minds of kids is fun. Looking forward to your next novel.

Read my review of Room in my blog..
http://rockprincessbooks.blogspot.com...


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindaann) | 1 comments Our book group read ROOM and we all thought it was extraordinary. The boy narrator was perfectly in tune with a five year old, and this was brilliant. We also were moved by the resilience of the young woman who was kidnapped and raped and emprisoned. How strong she was to create the escape for her son. How much love she had for him. THe book is a paen to a mother's love.
Were you inspired by a particular news event where a woman was abducted?


message 23: by Alexa (new)

Alexa | 2 comments I read this novel with my boyfriend, and we both had trouble putting it down to let each other catch up. After reading it, I have easily decided that ROOM is my favorite novel.
Like I mentioned in my review, my one favorite characteristic about ROOM is that it is entirely told through dialogue and the thoughts of Jack himself. This means the narration is not very opinionated, and it's told through the pure heart of Jack. And that's why I love it so much. It's a novel I will probably re-read, then re-read again, and maybe pass on to others to read. I'm not sure if I have very many questions for Emma, but for the ones I can come up with, I hope she enjoys answering them!

Here's a link to my review:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 24: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jnunemacher) | 9 comments I read Room a few months ago and really enjoyed it. As the mother of a 5 year old boy who is both perceptive and very verbal, I thought Jack's language was very realistic. To the reader who asked why Jack's language didn't mature more, I would have to say that even with the influence of TV, a 5 year old would still likely have those odd sentence constructions. Also, keep in mind that Ma limited his TV watching time and the channels were limited (no extended cable package).


message 25: by Emily (new)

Emily | 1 comments Emma wrote: "Thank you all so much for joining my group. I will be back on March 21 to begin the discussion. Until then, please feel free to introduce yourselves."

Hi Emma, I'm Emily. I can't remember having so many different emotions while reading a book as I did with Room. It will stay with me for a long time. In response to some others' comments: I too was wondering why Jack didn't have better language skills. I do understand how Ma could attempt suicide. When she was in Room, she focused and held it together because of Jack. After their escape, the trauma she had endured overwhelmed her. It was painful, but understandable when Jack felt the need to go back to Room to remember and Ma went with him. Throughout the book, Ma was extraordinary, but human.


message 26: by Malwina (new)

Malwina (malwasiem) | 1 comments Hi Emma,

My name is Malwina and I fell in love with The Sealed Letter :) so much that I deicded to present a paper on it during 1st Global Conference: Queer Sexualities in Warsaw, entitled ‘...so much to say, and little of it speakable’: Closeted Queer Identities in Colm Toibin’s “The Master” and Emma Donoghue’s “The Sealed Letter”. I do understand this discussion forum was supposed to be about the Room but I'd be honored if you let me ask some questions about The Sealed Letter as well. Warmly from Poland, Malwina :)


message 27: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Gayle wrote: "Steppa was my favorite character. He needed no blood relation to connect with Jack and to do the right things in helping Jack to adjust.

As soon as I finished this book, I told my twelve-year-old ..."


Haunted is the perfect word for how I felt after I finished. I found myself thinking back about the characters and wondering how they were doing. The last time a book affected me like that was "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen.


message 28: by Paula (new)

Paula (weave) Hi Emma, how are you? Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to ask you questions. 'Room' is my favourite book of the year so far :)


message 29: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Hi Emma and fans of Emma. My name's Tracy. I'm an avid reader and I must agree that Room has been one of my favorites I've read in a while. I was struck by some of the "criticisms" that the voice of Jack did not ring true, because to me, the voice was purely authentic. My youngest is currently 5 years old so I had an interesting perspective. I think 5 year olds are at that cusp of beginning to string sentences together like an adult, yet still holding on to some of the nonsense language of their toddler years. I have to agree with another member about Goodnight Moon being the influence for Jack to personify the objects around him.

Looking forward to more discussion. Thank you!


message 30: by Gail (new)

Gail Kesslar | 1 comments My book club chose this book and I was intrigued but a little put off by the subject matter.

I’m Pollyanna-like by nature, I like my stories to have happy endings or at least not leave me in a state of vague depression, which is one of the reason why I put off reading it for so long. I was thankful that through the innocent eyes of 5-year old Jack, Emma Donoghue was able to do her readers the greatest of favours by insulating us while still carefully revealing the horrors Jack and his “Ma” have faced, and the lessons their experience teaches them.

At a time in my life where my New Year’s Resolution was to read a book a month, I finished Room in two days. This book had that kind of power over me. As a busy freelance writer/editor, wife and mother I know what kind of havoc a busy life can play. Yet by finding the time to read a book like Room it helped me to see, through the eyes and the voice of this five year old boy, the importance of sometimes insulating ourselves and our families from the world’s outside. A message others, who haven't read Room, would be well advised to learn.


message 31: by The CurvyJones (new)

The CurvyJones (thecurvyjones) Hello, thank you for being willing to answer questions! I was another that read room cover to cover in one sitting. I really didn't want to (and couldn't) put it down. I got several friends to read it as well. I'm looking forward to a peek into your writing life and the details behind Room. I'm also reading your novel Slammerkin, which is so incredibly different!


message 32: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Manus (kdemanus) | 5 comments Hello and thank you for your willingness to participate in this Q & A. I am a high school English teacher and read Room in January. I have SO many questions. One of my questions is how would you approach teaching Room to high school seniors? I feel that the book has so much to offer them, but am unsure of how I would approach it. I have already had several students check the book out of my classroom library to read it on their own.


message 33: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Tressa wrote: "Thank you for participating in a Q & A. I've been involved in some great discussions about Room in some of my groups.

I'm a big horror fan, but I also love classics, crime fiction, dark fiction, ..."

Deeply flattered by the Anne Tyler comparison - she's on my A list.


message 34: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "Hello and thank you for your willingness to participate in this Q & A. I am a high school English teacher and read Room in January. I have SO many questions. One of my questions is how would you ap..."
When I was writing ROOM I thought it might end up as a YA title, actually, and I wrote it with as little sexual detail or 'bad language' as possible. Although the publishers didn't aim it that way, it has started gathering a young audience, which delights me. If I were teaching it, I think I would emphasize the universality of the childhood-towards-adulthood journey rather than the specific captured-by-a-rapist premise.


message 35: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Dom wrote: "Hello, thank you for being willing to answer questions! I was another that read room cover to cover in one sitting. I really didn't want to (and couldn't) put it down. I got several friends to read..."
Ah yes, my books are like a big bunch of siblings who seem to have nothing in common, aren't they? I try to serve the story, in each case, rather than imposing a 'Donoghue style'. SLAMMERKIN called for Darwinian darkness, ROOM for childish wisdom, LANDING for flippancy and romance, KISSING THE WITCH for lyricism...


message 36: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Tracy wrote: "Hi Emma and fans of Emma. My name's Tracy. I'm an avid reader and I must agree that Room has been one of my favorites I've read in a while. I was struck by some of the "criticisms" that the voice o..."
Re: GOODNIGHT MOON, although Jack hasn't read it, Ma would have been brought up on it, so it would be part of the cultural heritage ringing in her head.... Which just shows, influence can work via other people. The Coen brothers didn't need to actually read Homer's ODYSSEY to adapt it into O BROTHER WHERE ARE THOU...
Re: Jack's voice, yes, it's often the people who don't have five-year-olds in their lives who complain that one word or phrase is too sophisticated for Jack to use credibly. Those of us who know small kids realise that they like nothing more than to show off a big word even if their grammar is basic. Our three-year-old currently says things like 'He gots to eats his ravishing pizza.'


message 37: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Malwina wrote: "Hi Emma,

My name is Malwina and I fell in love with The Sealed Letter :) so much that I deicded to present a paper on it during 1st Global Conference: Queer Sexualities in Warsaw, entitled ‘......"

Fire away, Malwina, happy to talk about anything!


message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenf) | 5 comments Kathleen wrote: "If you have ever read "Goodnight Moon," Jack's use of language would be more understandable. It has been awhile since I read "Room," but I believe "Goodnight Moon" was one of the books Ma read to J..."

And I love the way the author wove that into the ending of Room. That was nicely done.


message 39: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Our book group read ROOM and we all thought it was extraordinary. The boy narrator was perfectly in tune with a five year old, and this was brilliant. We also were moved by the resilience of the ..."

Inspired by the Fritzl case, when that family were discovered in Austria in April 2008, but I didn't based the details of ROOM on it, in fact, I moved my plot as far from that case as possible because I didn't want to write about any real invididual's suffering.


message 40: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenf) | 5 comments Hi Emma,

I am an avid reader from Illinois and I devoured Room. We recently read it as part of a local book club and everyone loved it. I'm looking forward to this discussion.


message 41: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Kaliki wrote: "Hi! I'm Melissa. Diane also loaned her copy of Room to me. I wasn't sure what to expect. But like others, I was hooked immediately.

Jack and Ma's time in Room was so intriguing to me, and when th..."


Many people prefer the first half, but some find the second more interesting; I think it's always that way when you write a book in two halves. (I've certainly always felt that when I read a novel that's set partly in the past and partly today.)


message 42: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Janet wrote: "Hi, I'm Janet. I put off reading Room because I was afraid it would be a tough read, and in a way, it was. But Jack's voice was so authentic and full of normal childlike joy, in spite of his circum..."

Yes, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL was one of the influences, and John Boyle's THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS was another. The notion of a child interpreting absolute evil as some kind of game is not a cheap device, it's true to the nature of children.


message 43: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Marcia wrote: "As a former English teacher, I was intrigued by the language you created for Jack. It struck me as child-like, humorous, and realistic. I wonder, though, why with his obvious intelligence, his expo..."
Ah, interesting; I'm more used to getting criticisms that his English is TOO good. But I know what you mean: if Jack is modelling his speech so intensively on Ma's, why doesn't it become more like hers? Here I was influenced by research on child speech development I read, particularly a passage in Penelope Leach's classic BABYHOOD in which she records a dialogue between a mother and a small girl in which the mother keeps correcting the child on one grammatical point and the child stubbornly persists in the mistake. Basically, child speech is a journey and we may be able to add vocabulary but there's a limit to how much we can hurry the journey up.


message 44: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "I was struck by Jack's feeling of loss over all the things he missed, like Rug. I was fascinated by, yet able to relate to both Jack and Ma as he so deeply wanted Rug with him and she so violently ..."
Yeah, that dusty, musty old Rug is one good example, and Tooth is another; some readers feel nauseated when they read about Jack sucking on Ma's rotten tooth but I wanted a really visceral image for the truth that Jack treasures their whole life together, even the aspects that make Ma shudder.


message 45: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Annie wrote: "Hi there!
I'm excited to be a part of this discussion!
I read Room because of a review in a magazine (not sure which one, sorry!). The review listed it as one of the top 3 novels of the year, so I ..."

Mm, it does have a slow start: I knew it would be risky, but I really wanted to establish that dream-like, routine, how-life-is feeling, the weird stability and calm of Jack's childhood, before I started ratchetting up the action.


message 46: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Marsha wrote: "Hello-

Our book club read and discussed your book last month. I loved this book and the perspective of a captive survivor. I was troubled by Ma's fierce defense of Jack in captivity as contrasted ..."


Yes, Ma's overdose is the part of the plot that has attracted the most criticism. It comes as a shock to the readers, and it has to, because it's a shock to Jack: he never realised that Ma was so damaged, and her certainly wouldn't understand that she might fall apart at the very moment when her sufferings are officially over. I always knew I wanted to part Jack and Ma for a while in the second half of the book, to force him to grow up faster, and it struck me as highly likely she would have some kind of breakdown because of not only the delayed effects of her captivity (I was influenced by what I read about the shattering longterm effects of solitary confinement in US jails, for instance) but also the pulled-ten-ways situation she finds herself in, having to be a celebrity and a teenager and a patient and Jack's Ma all at the same time.


message 47: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Marian wrote: "Emma wrote: "Thank you all so much for joining my group. I will be back on March 21 to begin the discussion. Until then, please feel free to introduce yourselves."

I am new to these discussions. W..."

Hi Marian. I'll be posting answers on and off all this week, 21-27 March.


message 48: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenf) | 5 comments I thought the pacing was great. With respect to the first half and second half--I thought the balance was perfect, too. I was relieved that the entire book didn't take place in Room.


message 49: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Kirsten wrote: "I am looking forward to this Q&A - this is the first one I have joined. I really, really enjoyed Room. I listened to the audiobook - and was very moved and engrossed in the story.

I first heard of..."


The audiobook is fantastic, isn't it - I'm not surprised it's up for several audiobook awards. It's read by four actors and the woman who plays Jack is just remarkably convincing and fresh. I'm going to ask for all my audiobooks to be multi-voiced from now on!


message 50: by Emma (new)

Emma Donoghue | 133 comments Mod
Gayle wrote: "Steppa was my favorite character. He needed no blood relation to connect with Jack and to do the right things in helping Jack to adjust.

As soon as I finished this book, I told my twelve-year-old ..."


Glad to hear it. Steppa's one of my favorites too; he may not be in many scenes, but he's crucial, as the one ideal man in Jack's life. I'm really glad you're talking to kids about the story; some adults wince at the idea, but kids know there are 'bad guys' in the world, and they pick up far more unsavory notions in the schoolyard...


« previous 1
back to top