Room is one of those books where people ask you eagerly if you’ve read it. It’s a conversation starter, a breaking of the ice. Until recently, I wasn’t one of those people. It didn’t grab me when it was first released, but as more and more of my circle raved about this book, I thought I should give it a go.
Room is written in the first person, which is fine by me. The narrator, Jack, is also five years old. He’s also only lived in a garden shed for his entire life. It’s not as creepy as it sounds. Jack knows his entire world very intimately – there’s Rug, Bed, Table etc (which did get on my nerves a bit, making characters out of nearly every single inanimate object) and describes his routine with his ‘Ma’ methodically. Each day offers little variation. Jack watches the TV and marvels at the made up world ‘Outside’. At night Old Nick visits, but Jack is hidden away in Wardrobe. Now that he’s five, Ma has a plan. A plan that will turn Jack’s world upside down and inside out…
I got a little bit sick of Jack’s blow-by-blow activities in Room, so I was pleased when the focus shifted. It was interesting also to see Jack’s take on things that the average person takes for granted – sunlight, buying things at the store… I would have liked to have seen Ma’s perspective too, especially later on in the book when things weren’t going on as well. Especially why Jack continues to ‘have some’ for such a long time…I found that odd. Even though Jack is terribly bright for a five year old and recounts adult conversations very well, it would have been good to see how an adult coped being trapped all those years. I loved the idea of ‘Sundaytreat’ though!
A topical subject and a well-written book that leaves an eerie feeling long after.
Read it if: you’re interested in the human side of the recent media human captive stories.
8.5 out of 10.