Message

Error
  • Table './litlover_jo151/gztn_jxlabels_maps' is marked as crashed and should be repaired SQL=SELECT l.label_id, l.title, l.alias FROM gztn_jxlabels_labels AS l LEFT JOIN gztn_jxlabels_maps AS m ON m.label_id = l.label_id WHERE l.state = 1 AND m.item_id = 1235 AND m.type_id = 1 AND l.access <= 0 ORDER BY l.ordering ASC
guide_1235.jpg

Room (Donoghue)

The Room 
Emma Donoghue, 2010
Little, Brown & Co.
321 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780316098335

Summary 
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—October 24, 1969
Where—Dublin, Ireland, UK
Education—B.A., University College Dublin; Ph.D., University
   of Cambridge
Currently—lives in London, Ontario, Canada


Emma Donoghue is an Irish writer who lives in Canada. She has published six books of fiction, two works of literary history, two anthologies, and two plays.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, on 24 October 1969, Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours B.A. in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a Ph.D. (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. Since the age of 23, Donoghue has earned her living as a full-time writer. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario, where she lives with her lover and their son.


Extras
From a 2004 Barnes & Noble interview:

• The youngest of eight children, I would never have been conceived if a papal bull hadn't guilt-tripped my poor mother into flushing her pills down the toilet.

• The nearest I've ever got to "honest toil" was a chambermaiding job in Wildwood, New Jersey, at the age of 18. I got fired for my "low bathroom standards."

• My lover and I have a one-year-old son called Finn, whose favorite thing is to rip books out of my hands and eat them.

• I am clumsy, a late and nervous driver, and despise all sports except a little gentle dancing or yoga.

• I have never been depressed or thrown a plate, which I attribute to the cathartic effects of writing books about people whose lives are more grueling than mine.

• I am completely unobservant and couldn't tell you how many windows there are in our living room.

• I would be miserable in beige; I mostly wear red, purple, and black.

• The way to my heart is through Belgian milk chocolate.

• When asked what book most influenced her life as a writer, her is what she said:

I discovered Jeanette Winterson's strange, surreal novel about Napoleonic Venice, The Passion. I had read some trashy lesbian fiction before, but this was the very first book I found that had lesbian themes and was a work of great art. I realized—duh!—that it was possible to be "out" and a literary writer as well, and I started writing my first novel, Stir-Fry, the same year. I haven't liked all Winterson's books since, but I've always admired her uncompromising flair.

(From Barnes & Noble and the author's website.)



Book Reviews
Here come the debating points that are embedded in Ms. Donoghue's story. Was the world inside Room somehow safer than the world outside? Will it be damaging for Jack to have to share his mother with new people in her life—or with the people she left behind? Will Ma still be content to do nothing but interact with her frisky son? Is it harder to choose freely from a whole bowl of lollipops than to have no choice at all? Room is sophisticated in outlook and execution, but it's not too complicated to use actual lollipops to frame that theoretical question. Fortunately Ms. Donoghue makes both Ma and Jack too unpredictable for any of those answers to be easy.
Janet Maslin - New York Times


Jack's voice is one of the pure triumphs of the novel: in him, [Donoghue] has invented a child narrator who is one of the most engaging in years—his voice so pervasive I could hear him chatting away during the day when I wasn't reading the book. Donoghue rearranges language to evoke the sweetness of a child's learning without making him coy or overly darling… Through dialogue and smartly crafted hints of eavesdropping, Donoghue fills us in a on Jack's world without heavy hands or clunky exposition…a truly memorable novel…It presents an utterly unique way to talk about love, all the while giving us a fresh, expansive eye on the world in which we live.
Aimee Bender - New York Times Book Review


[O]ne of the most affecting and subtly profound novels of the year.... Not too cute, not too weirdly precocious, not a fey mouthpiece for the author's profundities, Jack expresses a poignant mixture of wisdom, love and naivete that will make you ache to save him—whatever that would mean: Delivering him to the outside world? Keeping him preserved here forever?…until you finish it, beware talking about Room with anyone who might clumsily strip away the suspense that's woven through its raw wonder. You need to enter this small, harrowing place prepared only to have your own world expanded.
Ron Charles - Washington Post


[A] riveting, powerful novel.... Donoghue's inventive storytelling is flawless and absorbing. She has a fantastic ability to build tension in scenes where most of the action takes place in the 12-by-12 room where her central characters reside. Her writing has pulse-pounding sequences that cause the reader's eyes to race over the pages to find out what happens next.... Room is likely to haunt readers for days, if not longer. It is, hands down, one of the best books of the year.
Liz Raftery - Boston Globe


Only a handful of authors have ever known how to get inside the mind of a child and then get what they know on paper. Henry James, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and, more recently, Jean Stafford and Eric Kraft come to mind, and after that one gropes for names. But now they have company. Emma Donoghue's latest novel, Room, is narrated by a 5-year-old boy so real you could swear he was sitting right beside you.... Room is so beautifully contrived that it never once seems contrived. But be warned: once you enter, you'll be Donoghue's willing prisoner right down to the last page.
Malcolm Jones - Newsweek


At the start of Donoghue's powerful new novel, narrator Jack and his mother, who was kidnapped seven years earlier when she was a 19-year-old college student, celebrate his fifth birthday. They live in a tiny, 11-foot-square soundproofed cell in a converted shed in the kidnapper's yard. The sociopath, whom Jack has dubbed Old Nick, visits at night, grudgingly doling out food and supplies. Seen entirely through Jack's eyes and childlike perceptions, the developments in this novel—there are enough plot twists to provide a dramatic arc of breathtaking suspense—are astonishing. Ma, as Jack calls her, proves to be resilient and resourceful, creating exercise games, makeshift toys, and reading and math lessons to fill their days. And while Donoghue (Slammerkin) brilliantly portrays the psyche of a child raised in captivity, the story's intensity cranks up dramatically when, halfway through the novel and after a nail-biting escape attempt, Jack is introduced to the outside world. While there have been several true-life stories of women and children held captive, little has been written about the pain of re-entry, and Donoghue's bravado in investigating that potentially terrifying transformation grants the novel a frightening resonance that will keep readers rapt.
Publishers Weekly


Five-year-old Jack and his Ma enjoy their long days together, playing games, watching TV, and reading favorite stories. Through Jack's narration, it slowly becomes apparent that their pleasant days are shrouded by a horrifying secret. Seven years ago, his 19-year-old Ma was abducted and has since been held captive—in one small room. To her abductor she is nothing more than a sex slave, with Jack as a result, yet she finds the courage to raise her child with constant love under these most abhorrent circumstances. He is a bright child—bright enough, in fact, to help his mother successfully carry out a plan of escape. Once they get to the outside world, the sense of relief is short lived, as Jack is suddenly faced with an entirely new worldview (with things he never imagined, like other people, buildings, and even family) while his mother attempts to deal with her own psychological trauma. Verdict: Gripping, riveting, and close to the bone, this story grabs you and doesn't let go. Donoghue (The Sealed Letter) skillfully builds a suspenseful narrative evoking fear and hate and hope—but most of all, the triumph of a mother's ferocious love. Highly recommended for readers of popular fiction. —Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty.
Library Journal


Room is beautifully written as a first-person narrative from Jack’s perspective, and within it, Donoghue has constructed a quiet, private, and menacing world that slowly unbends with a mother and son’s love and determination. —Vanessa Bush
Booklist


Talented, versatile Donoghue relates a searing tale of survival and recovery, in the voice of a five-year-old boy.... Donoghue brilliantly shows mother and son grappling with very different issues as they adjust to freedom.... In the story's most heartbreaking moments, it seems that Ma may be unable to live with the choices she made to protect Jack. But his narration reveals that she's nurtured a smart, perceptive and willful boy—odd, for sure, but resilient, and surely Ma can find that resilience in herself.... Wrenching, as befits the grim subject matter, but also tender, touching and at times unexpectedly funny.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think the entire book is told in Jack’s voice? Do you think it is effective?

2. What are some of the ways in which Jack’s development has been stunted by growing up in Room? How has he benefited?

3. If you were Ma, what would you miss most about the outside world?

4. What would you do differently if you were Jack’s parent? Would you tell Jack about the outside world from the start?

5. If Ma had never given birth to Jack, what would her situation in Room be like?

6. What would you ask for, for Sundaytreat, if you were Jack? If you were Ma?

7. Describe the dynamic between Old Nick and Ma. Why does the author choose not to tell us Old Nick’s story?

8. What does joining the outside world do to Jack? To Ma?

9. What role do you think the media play in the novel?

10. In a similar situation, how would you teach a child the difference between the real world and what they watch on television?

11. Why are we so fascinated by stories of long-term confinement?

12. What were you most affected by in the novel?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

top of page (summary)

 

Site by BOOM Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2014