Author: Emma Donoghue.
Published: 13 September 2010.
The wonderfully acclaimed book and film, this novel has received much warranted buzz over the past year because of Lenny Abrahamson’s 2015 adaptation. I read this earlier this year before I saw the film and was blown away. I also got to study it for my final semester of Uni in my Contemporary Irish Lit. class.
The novel tells the story of 5 year old Jack and his mother Ma who live in a garden shed called “Room.” The first half of the novel shows life within Room and how Ma has created a safe and loving environment for Jack in order to allow him to develop healthily. Jack believes that Room is the whole world because he has never been outside. The second half then follows Jack and Ma as they try to adjust to living in the wider society.
The narration is impeccably written from the perspective of Jack. His voice is realistic and similar to that of a real 5 year old. Donoghue also depicts his interaction with the outside world in such an interesting way. We get to see the world from the point of view of someone who doesn’t fully understand things.
From and Irish Lit point of view, this novel is really exciting because it moves away from the typical subjects of Irish Lit likes religion, the past and rural landscapes. It’s a wonderful contribution to Irish Lit as a whole and a beautiful story that doesn’t patronise it’s serious subject matter. Jack and Ma are both powerfully tangible and we feel their struggle. Steppa was great minor character that added warmth and humanity. A must read for everyone.