There has been so much talk about this book recently that I decided to make it the first that I read on my lovely shiny new Kindle (the eReader that I said I would never buy and am now officially in love with). I managed to get it for just £4.09 about 3 weeks ago from Amazon, which is great as they are now charging £6.74. Yay me for being impatient!
So, for anyone who doesn’t know, Room is a story inspired by (not based on) the Fritzl case.
It starts on Jack’s 5th birthday. He and Ma live in Room, which is 11ft x 11ft. Old Nick comes in Door sometimes, usually at night, but Jack has to hide in Wardrobe and has never been allowed to meet him. Everything that isn’t in Room is Outside. Jack likes watching TV and knows that everything on TV is ‘not real’, unlike him & Ma and everything in Room.
Then, soon after his 5th birthday he & Ma are able to go Outside, and Jack realises that he has to come to terms with the reality that is the world outside Room.
I sped through this book – as it’s written from a child’s view, it is obviously extremely easy to read, laying an innocence on some extremely difficult subject matters. We learn that Jack’s Ma was kidnapped at 19 and kept imprisoned in this one room for 7 years, but this isn’t her story, so the complete emotional torment that she must go through is only scratched upon occasionally. this is totally Jack’s story – of what it must be like to have be born into such an environment, believing that your entire world is 121sq ft.
It was very clever and well thought out, although there were a couple of things that annoyed me. Sometimes Jack would miss words out in his speech, which certainly made him seem more of a 5 year old, except a ‘normal’ 5 year old wouldn’t talk or think the way that he does, and he correctly uses extremely large words throughout. It just felt inconsistent – either he was wise beyond his years and far more eloquent, or he wasn’t.
I think telling it from Jack’s innocent view made it a far easier read. I didn’t feel any horror in the situation, because as far as he was concerned, it was all normal. Even the ‘action part’ of the story (I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read it) felt quite matter-of-fact. I didn’t feel any fear for Jack particularly, perhaps because he couldn’t articulate such fear in his voice. Telling the story from Ma’s point of view would be a completely different story – and one I would love to read too.
So, I thought it was brilliant, although the ending was a little obvious.