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Review: Room, by Emma Donoghue

Phillipa Moran looks at the novel Room in its contemporary, and not at all fictional, context

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This book is unique.

It’s a narrative told through the eyes of five-year-old Jack, of the life that he and his mother lead in ‘Room’. Jack was born in this room, and had never known anything but his mother, the objects in this room, the television, and Old Nick, their captor, until shortly after his fifth birthday, when his Ma admits that there is a whole world outside of the garden shed in which they’re being held.

It’s unlike any other book I’ve come across – the perspective from which it’s written offers a touching insight into the life of a child born into captivity. The style is simple, but effective, and very accessible. Donoghue cleverly uses the pure, innocent language of a young child to describe horrors that Jack doesn’t understand, but that the reader instantly grasps.

Room isn’t exactly a obscure, little known book, or even a new release (it was published in 2010 and is now an international bestseller and winner of many awards) but I’ve chosen to review this book in light of the recent abduction that has been featuring in the news of April Jones. The novel has also made me consider how these issues affect the affected in reality, when there are so many disturbing similar cases; for example, the kidnap and finding of Jaycee Lee Dugard 18 years later, with children of her own, in the US. Above all, it provides hope – that some of the children still missing such as April and Madeleine McCann, may still be alive and found one day.
Room, by Emma Donoghue, Picador (2010)