Sunday, March 6, 2011

On my bedside table: ROOM by Emma Donoghue

At the end of a year there are always a lot of "best of" lists floating around and at the end of 2010 I noticed that this book, ROOM by Emma Donoghue, was near the top of many best book lists. This was enough to peak my interest and after a quick read of the synopsis I knew I had to read it!

ROOM is told in the voice of 5 year old Jack who lives in an 11x11 room with his mother, a young woman who was kidnapped 7 years ago when she was 19 years old. The idea for the story was triggered by this case.

I stayed up reading this book until 4 am last night! Its been a long time since a story captured me so strongly. Having the story narrated by Jack and exploring a unusual life and major changes in circumstance through his eyes definitely increases the interest level of the story.

However, what really stood out to me is what a great mother he had! It blew my mind how she was able to be so present with him and worked so hard to approximate a normal life through routine and creativity even in the midst of such horrifying circumstances. Although I know this is a fictional story, it created negative feelings in me towards mothers with freedom and access to resources who do not work as hard to create security for their own children. I suppose in the book she had no other priority because Jack was all she had, but shouldn't all children be treated as number one by their parents?

This is definitely a book I recommend :)


  1. Hey Sara - weird! I was just thinking (the night that you posted this) about how it's hard to be present with my own Jack. I often find myself wishing time away, feeling like I'm killing time with him instead of recognizing I have the opportunity to really be with him and enjoy his presence.

    Your reflection also reminded me that we are often most creative when we restricted.

  2. Hmmm that is interesting I never thought about that! I suppose when we are not restricted there is no need to be creative. In our world of convenience and wealth we really never have to be creative again because everything we would want can be easily accessed.
    This reminds me of the article you posted on your blog and the idea of high input/high reward for activities. We don't have to be creative ever, but the act of being creative has a high reward for us. I wonder if people who are very creative ever have to add restrictions in their life in order to foster creativity?