“Room” by Emma Donoghue: perspective is everything

My friend Marissa sent me an autographed copy (!!) of Room, by Emma Donoghue, for my birthday last month. I was really excited about this novel because as a teenager, I was mildly obsessed with one of Donoghue’s collections, Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins. I was not disappointed at all.

Room is about a mother and son who live in a terrible place: an 11′ by 11′ room with no way out. Jack is five, and his entire existence has been spent in this tiny space; yet, he doesn’t think it’s strange, because his mother has told him that this is the world. I can’t tell you anything else, because that would ruin things for you, but I wanted to bring up the most interesting part of this novel for me: the narrator’s perspective.

I love unreliable, weird narrators, and this counts, I think. Jack, the five-year-old boy, narrates Room, and his perspective is unique. His mother obviously knows about the world outside, but to Jack, this room is his universe. Imagine that. Imagine being five and never having gone to a park or to a friend’s house. Or not knowing what the sun is. That’s the set-up of the novel, but mostly what the reader gains from Jack’s narration is the deep sense of love between him and his mother.

If you are looking for an intense, emotional novel to offset all that beach reading, I highly recommend Room. (And thanks again, Marissa!)

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About Amanda K

Amanda K holds a master's degree in Library and Information Studies. She's a housewife, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, a sewist, and an aspiring gourmet home cook. View all posts by Amanda K

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