by Emma Donoghue
No AR Level because it’s not recommended for kids!
This is the story of Ma, as told from the point of view of Jack, a five year old boy. Ma was kidnapped at 19 by a man called Old Nick and kept in a room (an 11×11 renovated garden shed) for 7 years of her life. During this time, she had Jack and taught him that the Room was all there was, and everything on tv was just make believe. Out of desperation, she plots to have Jack escape, and their lives change forever. Despite the depressing tone of the story (how can being locked in a shed for 7 years and suffer from repeated assault not be depressing), it is actually not a downer book. Since the story is told from Jack’s perspective, we see their lives in a blanket of innocence and not what it really is.
What I liked about this book was that despite how hard things were for Ma and Jack, Ma kept Jack protected and sheltered from the truth of their lives. The theme of hope resonated throughout the story, even while Jack was counting the squeaks of the bed when Old Nick “visited”, because it is told by Jack. He does not have the experience nor the knowledge to see their lives through a filter of despair and depression. It also gives me an idea of what women kept in slavery suffer. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to actually experience it.
What I didn’t like about this book was that it took me forever to read. It annoyed me that there were paragraphs that rambled on in nearly unintelligible language (since Jack told the story and little kids don’t always get their words right). There are also things in the story that I just don’t want to think actually occur on this planet. It’s just too real. Also, I swore it took place in England. Some of the words and phrasing just aren’t used in America. That annoys me. I learned the story takes place in America, but the author is Irish. That explains it.
Book 16 of 40 (year 2)