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The Book Report: Room

25/05/2012

Room by Emma Donoghue

Rating 2/10

I can see what Donoghue was trying to do and for all intents and purposes, she did it well.

Room is the novel which echoes the Fritzl case; a huge news story from a few years back about a woman who walked into a police station in Austria and told them that she had been held captive in a basement for twenty-four years.  Room is about a young woman who was kidnapped some years earlier and has been imprisoned in the man’s garden shed. During those years she had a child, and the whole book is from the boy’s point of view.

I think if I had known that this award-winning book was entirely in the voice of an emotionally stunted five year old I would not have picked it up.

I know, I know, the whole point of the book was to see it from the child’s perspective, and while Donoghue writes as a five year old well there is a reason most of us can’t remember that far back. Our brains are too young and we don’t have a clue what’s going on. After about a third of the book the style stopped being quirky and just became a chore to read. I had to force myself to wade through the annoying repetition of a child to finish it.

And nothing really happens.

Sure, they escape the shed and the kidnapper gets arrested, and then they have to adjust to the outside world, but because it is from the child’s point of view it is nowhere near as interesting or engaging as a story like that should be. And that is about as far as the story goes. It’s nothing that anyone familiar with the Fritzl case or even anyone with the slightest bit of imagination could assume before even opening the book.

I’m not too sure why this book won so many awards. All I can deduce is that maybe we should all pick a news story, wait a couple of years so it’s not bad taste, and then write it from the point of view of the child.

And they say YA is bad for the brain. Sigh. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to The Mortal Instruments series, because my mind has been sufficiently abused enough by the last few books that I hate children. Give me back my angst-ridden teens, for the love of all things unholy.

~Cathy

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