room, a novel

Happy Monday!

I apologize for my lengthy absence from the Blogosphere, but I have been struggling with a mild case of writer’s block.  I try to fill UrbanLoving with nuggets from my life that are actually unusual or interesting, rather than rambling accounts of my somewhat mundane life.  While these last few weeks have been undoubtedly fun, there has been little out of the ordinary to inspire me to resume my seat at the keyboard.

The most interesting experience I’ve had recently has actually been in the form of a book.  Just yesterday, I finished reading a novel called Room, written by Emma Donoghue, an intriguing look at what life would be like if your world was limited to an 11 by 11 foot space. 

Room tells the haunting story of a young mother and her 5 year old son who are imprisoned in a tiny cell.  What makes the book so unusual is that is told through the eyes of Jack, the son, in his 5 year old voice and undeveloped perceptions.  The reader never quite has complete understanding of what is going on, and has to do some critical thinking to read between the lines of what Jack sees in his world.  Born in Room, Jack knows nothing besides the objects within and the routine his Ma has established for them.  By capitalizing the names of the objects—Bed, Rug, Meltedy Fork—we understand that to Jack, who has no real companions, these things are his friends as much as his mother is.  While it may seem strange to us, it is perfectly normal (and really the only thing he knows) to Jack, which is part of his sweetness and allure.

The best part of the book is when Jack makes it outside (spoiler alert!!  Sorry.) and is overwhelmed by the new world.  Having never seen stairs, and thus unsure how to navigate them, Jack throws a tantrum and has to slide down them on his bottom.  Can you imagine not knowing how to get down a flight of stairs?  What an unusual idea.

Room is a stunning, emotional book that is gripping in its humanity.  The bond between Jack and his mother is intense, almost uncomfortable, but beautifully illustrated by Donoghue.  I absolutely recommend this book; it was the most interesting thing that I’ve done (read) in a few weeks.  (And those few weeks include a visit to my sister, a birthday celebration, and a trip to a local flea market.)


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