I finished reading Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue, and I thought it was really brilliant.
You know all those stories of girls kidnapped and held in a basement or shed for years? Take that story and imagine it is told by a five-year-old named Jack, the by-product of his mom’s capture. For Jack, Room is all he knows. His Ma puts all her energies into creating a good life for him. As he chatters about his life, the reader discerns that she is barely holding it together, but Jack is oblivious.
I was sucked into Room and I thought Jack's voice rang true. Like many readers, I found the second half a little less compelling than the first, but that’s no real knock on the book, because the first half was aaaa-mazing!
A couple of little things: Why did she chose to set it in America? There are one or two times it sounds really English, like when the grandma says, “Your ma’s old room is beside ours but we’ve converted it into a fitness suite. I don’t know if there’d be space for a blow-up.” And there’s a TV talk show where the talking heads discuss “relevant archetypes,” Perseus, Kaspar Hauser, and Plato - only in the author’s imagination, would be my guess.
But those are tiny things. If you want a riveting read, get Room.