Room by Emma Donoghue was our read for this month’s book club and even through we had depleated numbers in the room, it didn’t stop us have a great discussion on this book.
I think most of us were in agreement that the book was incredibly slow starting, but once we had got over the initial couple of chapters we were hooked and couldn’t put it down. However, one member did state that they only read it because of the book club and found the escape from the room very implausible.
I loved the directness of the book. Jack’s perception is so black and white because ‘room’ is all he knows and the fact that he calls the objects by names as if they were real people is incredibly sad. I presumed the Mum was older but then you work out she is only in her mid twenties and has been imprisoned for 7 years, which has made her have an older outlook.
Although most of us had to reread the escape because it seemed to happen so fast, our discussions centred around the fact that they think by escaping the room is the end of their problems but really it’s the beginning. Jack’s Mum ends up taking an overdose as she can’t cope with the pressures of outside life and Jack can’t cope with the vastness of the world that he now has to live in and thinks at some point he will go back to sleep in ‘room’.
There is also the fact that different people react to them. Jack’s Mum’s family seem to not understand what they have gone through, taking Jack to a Mall and not understanding that he will have a problem with understanding normal things as in paying for goods. His Grandpa also has a problem with him and what he represents what his daughter has gone through.
I loved the symmetry of prison throughout the book. They are kept captive in a room with a coded door, which is replicated when they go to the police station and then again when they go into the social housing.
This is such a powerful book, one which is so emotive, that once finished, makes you stop and think about what has just happened on the pages that you’ve just read.