“Room” by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue manages to convey a story and a world of pain and disgust wrapped in a child’s world, and by doing so, she leaves the reader confused and concerned, for our ability to see past the cruel reality of the story. The combination of the kidnapping and rape of a young girl on the one hand and the innocence of a child on the other seems impossible even to fathom, yet Donoghue dares play with dangerous waters, and somehow does it successfully. There is a clear dichotomy between the nightmare ‘Room’ represents to Mother and the only and safe world it does for Jack. Yet, as we sympathize with the inhumane conditions the mother has been put into and has to endure, and we often get frustrated at Jack’s inability and even unwillingness to embrace what seems to us the ‘normal’ way, we cannot help but feel compassion for the tumultuous  world Jack has been forced into; and we hate ourselves a little bit for doing so. I guess this is the major achievement for Donoghue, the fact that she manages to immerse herself completely into the perspective of the five-year old boy whose own little world revolved around Room all his life, and takes her readers on the way.


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