Well, this is it.
The first time I saw this book, I was wandering around W. H. Smith's on my lunchbreak, stomach rumbling, with no cash in my pocket. Room was on one of those coveted front tables, you know the ones: right up close to the door, tempting you as soon as you walk in. Room was so simple, so straightforward. Also, a bit creepy in the realness of its concept: A little boy, Jack, locked in a room with his Ma? Locked in a room? What? I wondered if I could barter my train ticket back to Doncaster for this book, but alas. I do not live in a bartering system. So I read the first page, read the back cover, and then put it back.
The second time I saw this book, I was at my friend's house. She went over to her bookcase and grabbed Room and shoved it in my face, saying, "Whatever you're reading right now, stop. Just put it down and read this."
And so I did.
And let me tell you, it was 400 pages of brilliance.
I recommend this for: readers, dreamers, child psychologists, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles and cousins.
For Emma Donaghue to step into the shoes of a five-year-old boy and stay in that perspective for 400 pages just blows me away. (I have to admit I have a hard time writing from a child's perspective.) And Emma's Jack is an isolated, malnourished boy who has never seen Outside. I mean, this is something that you really have to lose yourself in.
(Please forgive this aside: In the back of my mind, as a writer, I am wondering: how many rejections did Emma get? Her American agent is Kathleen Anderson, to whom I've relatively recently submitted a query. I am yet awaiting a response. But this dark - and uplifting - family-based narrative echoes something similar to mine.)
Room is a moving read that makes you question everything you know (which is what all good books do).
Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody, be sure to wear your green!
Have a lovely Saturday.