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Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, then two, then one, then zero. “Was I minus numbers?”

 

Room , by Emma Donoghue, is an emotional, touching and riveting narrative by a five-year old for whom the world is only a small room and his ‘Ma’ is the only other being he has ever seen. The novel starts with Jack’s 5th birthday. The only reason Room stands out is because of the innocent narrative by Jack who is isolated from the world.

Jack’s mother is held captive since she was 19 in the “room” by an old lunatic in a 12×12 room where he is born and brought up. First half of the book describes the daily chores the mum & son do in their tiny world. With such limited resources, Ma attempts to teach Jack as much as she can except that she cannot make him understand how vast the outside world is.

Jack’s understanding of things outside the room is based on what he sees on TV which he thinks are not real. Sky, trees and birds…are all foreign to him.  His Room is the only reality in his world, maybe that is the reason he says Good Night to the  Room every day before going to sleep (which I found quite creepy and every time I read “Good Night Room” or “Good Morning Skylight”, I had goosebumps).  Ma’s character is a brave one and she tries to give Jack the best she can in the Room. He counts the cereal which he eats everyday and can count better than his counterparts outside the Room. From the games they play to conversations they have, everything is so gripping and draws the reader into the Room.

Truly enjoyed the miraculous escape and the awe with which Jack receives the vastness of the real world. It’s a unique and absorbing read, convincing and very well written (including Jack’s diction!). It will make you think that the world is actually immensely huge.

 

Few lines as always :

“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”

“In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time…I don’t know how persons with jobs do the jobs and all the living as well…I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter all over the world, the roads and houses and playgrounds and stores, so there’s only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit.

“People move around so much in the world, things get lost.”

“It’s called mind over matter. If we don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” When a bit of me hurts, I always mind.”

“A lot of the world seems to repeat itself”

“Everybody’s damaged by something.”

“People don’t always want to be with people. It gets tiring.”

“When I was a little kid I thought like a little kid, but now I’m five I know everything”

“Stories are a different kind of true.”

“The world is always changing brightness and hotness and soundness, I never know how it’s going to be the next minute.”

“People move around so much in the world, things get lost.”

“It’s weird to have something that’s mine-not-Ma’s. Everything else is both of ours. I guess my body is mine and the ideas that happen in my head. But my cells are made out of her cells so I’m kind of hers.”

 

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