Room review - what the libraries thought

01 August 2010

Kathy Dolan from Maidenhead library gives us her view (small spoiler alert).

 

There are two reasons why this book is really difficult to review - one is that I don't want to include spoilers (it will lessen the impact of a very powerful read), and two is that I don't seem to be able to stay away from clich├ęs. They all apply. Unputdownable - tick. I couldn't stop thinking about it - tick. Quite unlike anything I've read before - tick. Shocking, heartbreaking, surprising moments of humour, compassionate - tick.

Emma Donoghue has shown great courage to imagine and portray such a disturbing situation so deeply and convincingly. The narrator is five year old Jack, who has always lived in Room, and has a limited understanding of what is happening and why. The author uses this device very cleverly, as the reader pieces things together in a way Jack could not. It is also more horrifying to read the story this way than any number of graphic descriptions of abuse would have been. And while I'm glad to say (in one small spoiler) that Jack and his Ma do escape from Room, their life on the outside is in its way just as frightening and a lot more uncertain.

Being a sensitive soul and a sucker for a happy ending, if I had known what this book was about, I would certainly not have picked it up, let alone volunteered to review it - and I would have missed out on what is certainly going to be one of the most talked about books of the year. I really hope this doesn't get the 'mis-lit' treatment by its publishers as it should be read by a much wider audience.

Find out more about libraries in Windsor and Maidenhead.