Thursday, December 2, 2010
I recedntly read Room by Emma Donoghue. Short-listed for the Booker Prize, it is a story that stays in your head long after you put it down. Without revealing too much, I can tell you it's written from the viewpoint of five-year-old Jack, a boy who has never known a world beyond the small room where he and Ma, his mother, are imprisoned. Here he spends his days unaware of the world outside, which he believes is an imaginary place in the TV. Here he sleeps at night in a wardrobe, shielded from the visits of Old Nick, his mother's rapist and jailer. A grim premise for a novel, right? But Jack and Ma make the most of their tiny world, and they love each other unconditionally. And then---
But you have to read to find out what happens. Suffice it to say, it's fascinating and thought-provoking. Put it on your holiday wish list; take time to read it. You won't forget Jack or Ma.
You may wonder, and I asked myself, why did I choose to review this book, which has nothing to do with widowhood? Well, maybe, in a way, it does. Often in this new, unwished for life, we, too are prisoners. Of loneliness, of grief, of fear. Our "rooms" are small; our bundaries are tight. Breaking out--even taking one small step--into a new life may be scarier than staying inside. But I believe we have to try. The new world we enter may seem unfeeling, unfriendly, but it can be wider and more fulfilling.
Do Jack and Ma try? Read and find out.