I picked this one up because I've talked about Frog Music
, Donoghue's other novel, and every time... someone asks if I've read Room. When I tell them I haven't, I got the same response every time. Well, I absolutely need to do it as an audiobook. It's told by a child.
This seemed pretty gimmicky to me, sorry Donoghue. I wasn't super impressed with Frog Music, so I was a little hesitant. It wasn't at the top of my list, but I got to it eventually (obviously).
This story is brilliant. Ma is a wonderfully strong, yet flawed character. She makes do with what she can and tries her best to keep Jack protected from Old Nick and the big, scary world.
It's usually easier for me to talk about the things I didn't like, so I'll go through that first. Jack grew up with very little. For growing up with so little, I wouldn't think he would be so damn picky. Jack really annoyed me much of the time. I'm not sure if it was because I was really invested in the story or if I really just was not a fan of this character. I was quite frustrated during their attempts of escape. Maybe it was the parenting but he had quite a few freak outs. Maybe that really is how someone who has been raised in one room would react, but he was really snotty and I wasn't a huge fan of him. He was also way too clingy. Again, I'm sure this has to do with psychological issues of being raised on one little room. But he disgusted me with the tooth. You'll know what I mean, if you've read it. (I can't believe no one has seen this and made him stop immediately.) He broke a lamp because he didn't get his way. Now, if I was in that situation, Jack would've gotten more than just the stepford mother response of just having Ma clean it while Jack runs off dramatically. Ma is also insanely attached and, trying not to give anything away, nourishes Jack in a way that should've stopped a long-ass time ago - regardless of being in one room or not. Just... no. It didn't shock me, like I think Donoghue was going for - it just disgusted me. When Ma was getting actual help, she was sooo defensive and it really turned me off.
I wonder how much research Donoghue did for this novel. There is a lot going on with both main characters psychologically. I wonder if their reactions are apropos for their situation. Jack constantly counts his teeth and has a fixation, however minor, on the number five. I'm just wondering if it's because he turned five or if it's something more serious than that. There were times when I would have liked to know Ma's side of the story more. Hearing from Jack went a little slow at times, and I got all kinds of antsy.My rating and why:
I gave this book 3.5/4 stars. I did like it, even though I just ripped it apart above. I'm very into psychological books and anything to do with the mind. It just fascinates me. I had previously read Sybil, a true story about a woman with 16 personalities, so this book is right up my alley with the mentality and possible damage it has done to these two. With the limited knowledge coming from the point of view of the child, I sometimes wanted the perspective of an adult or the awareness of an adult.