To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another. (Goodreads)
Room was a emotional ride for me. It made me think of how detached I've been from certain emotional themes in novel before I became a mom. The need you see in your child eyes almost always get projected in a novel whenever a child is being treated badly.
Room felt like a rollercoaster to me. The first 100 pages were a bit of a struggle. You don't have quite the right idea about what's going on and being in Jack's head can be a little tiresome. But halfway the first part, when Ma is trying to persuade Jack to help them escape their predicament, my water works started flowing.
You feel his panicky realisation that all he thought was just tv, suddenly turned real, isn't as wonderful as his mother described it. It's mostly just very loud and very confusing.
On the night he escapes 'Old Nick' you feel his sense of trepidation and I wanted so much to be by his side. To hold his hand and tell him everything would be okay. He wouldn't want that of course, the only thing he wants is to be close to his mother.
I'm not sure I could've done what she has done, because she relied completely on the wits of a five year old to get them out, in particular a five year old who's never seen anyone but his ma and their captor, who's never been outside their 'room'. I think it would be the hardest seconds in my life if I would've sent my daughter out there not knowing what was happening.
Then the relief of when a police officer is being called and they finally find his mother. When all this has happened you've only read about half of the novel and I was wondering what the rest of the story would be about, since I've shunned as much spoilers as possible.
Greatly was I surprised when now I followed the process of Jack learning to be a part of the big world, learning of rules and rules within rules, special amendments to those rules and how he feels when his mother isn't only there for him anymore. She tries to be Ma, but she also wants to be the woman she was before the abduction again and Jack doesn't know that woman and is confused when she doesn't need him as much as he needs her.
My heart broke in a million pieces when Jack, after a afternoon of confusing reality, comes back to the clinic where he and Ma are staying and finds his mother 'sick'.
I was so mad at her, trying to kill herself while Jack counted on her so much. I know kids can be a handful, but to leave him in the wide world without the only thing he's ever known was so cruel that I nearly tossed this book away. Luckily I don't have a fireplace.
I found this to be the most fictional part of the novel. I don't think that if she would have killed herself, she would have chosen to go alone. I think, however horrible it might seem, that if she really had thought suicide was the answer, she would've taken Jack along with her.
Of course, because Jack found her, rescued her a second time, she recovers and can look after him again after a while. In the meantime Jack stays with his grandparents, who show a tremendous effort in showing him what life can be like. Through all their efforts and innocent mistakes, Jack learnes that life isn't like on tv and that some things are better and others can hurt you.
In the end of the novel you get a sense of new direction. I was confident that they would make it somehow. Maybe Jack would always be a little peculiar, but not in a sense that life would lock him away with the loonies. Jack is in my eyes a lovely boy and I would be mad as hell if something were to happen to him.
When I closed this book, I did cry though, because in whatever sense that this book is only fiction, this sort of stuff does happen. Even here in my little country called Belgium, children have been locked away in a basement for years. You hear it sporadically on the news of people being held captive for so long, I only have respect for those people to have to endure that and prevail.
This must be the longest review I've ever written.
Well, I was seriously astounded by this novel and should have read it ages ago.
Personal rating: 5 stars
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