Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Right Book for Right Now

I have quite a few books in my To Be Read pile. They are books I really do want to read, books I've been meaning to read for...well, let's just say quite a while. Quite often when I'm finishing with one book, I'll choose a book for my next read from the TBR pile.

Sometimes, though, when I come to the end of what I'm currently reading, as I mentally go over my TBR (To Be Read) pile in my mind, none of the book in the pile appeal to me at that particular time. I want to read them, I just don't want to read them right NOW. It may be a mood thing, or a length thing, or a subject of interest thing.

If I'm lucky, I'll find a book to read that I hadn't been looking at before, and it is the right book for right now. It's a book that suits my mood, my energy level, my interest at that moment in time.

That is what happened with Room.


I picked this up as an unknown. I didn't know of Emma Donoghue, hadn't read Slammerkin (one of her previous books), hadn't heard anything about this book, I hadn't even read the back cover or inside flap of this book (unusual for me).

I just started reading it. Jack narrates. Jack, who is five years old and lives in Room with his mother. He sleeps in Bed, plays on and under Table, lies on Rug. Why are all these things proper names? Is it just a quirky five year old's view of the world? Well, perhaps.

Jack shares his world in his five year old voice, sharing his day to day life, and slowly, we learn why he and his mother live in Room, how they got there, why his mother wants to get out, and what happens when they do.

Jack is completely believable and engaging, sharing his observations...

"Lunch is bean salad, my second worst favorite. After nap we do Scream every day but not Saturdays or Sundays. We clear our throats and climb up on Table to be nearer to Skylight, holding hands not to fall. We say, 'On your mark, get set, go,' then we open wide our teeth and shout holler howl yowl shriek screech scream the loudest possible. Today I'm the most loudest ever because my lungs are stretched from being five."

Jack describes his world, his world in Room, with Ma, is all he's ever known and he describes it like a child does, telling it like it IS, not how it should be, or might be, because living in Room is all he's ever experienced.

Like Curious Incident of Dog in the Nighttime, or The Art of Racing in the Rain, Jack as narrator has a unique voice and take on the world. Brilliantly done, Donoghue captures the tenor of just being five years old. More than that, through Jack's observations and musings, she reveals Jack and Ma's completely out of the ordinary life.

I don't want to share more of the plot, in case you, like me, haven't heard much about Room. I'm glad I got to read it as an unknown. It was a delightful surprise. Highly recommended.

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