Monday, 29 August 2016

Reading Room...

...or more accurately, reading "Room"

Liz lent me this in July. I took it on holiday, and brought it back having read just a few ages. Over the weekend I read it through completely on Saturday night/Sunday morning.
It is quite gripping. NO SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW!
The blurb explains that "Jack is 5, he lives in one Room with his Ma. He has a TV, but knows the stuff on screen isn't truly real. Then one day Ma tells him there is a whole other World outside..."
What makes this book so clever is that the story is narrated by Jack, and everything is seen through the eyes and language of a 5 year old. Admittedly an intelligent 5 year old. Some of it is horrific, other parts poignant and moving, and the use of language is wonderful. 
The way that sometimes the language and behaviour of an adult is utterly perplexing to a child is portrayed brilliantly. Some parts reminded me of Scout's reactions and comments in 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. 
It is a reminder to all of us that when we speak to children, we should measure our words carefully. I recall Liz sobbing uncontrollably when she was barely 3, because an old lady looked at baby Steph in the pram and said "She is lovely, I could eat her all up!" and pupils at school genuinely worried by family members saying "If you lose that I will kill you" [and whatever it was, they had lost it and were so anxious at hometime in case death was imminent]
It is also a compelling portrayal of motherly love. Unconditional, enduring, self-sacrificial love. 
I really enjoyed this book and would rate it *****
[There is now a film - I am not sure how well that will work - although I understand Emma Donaghue wrote the screenplay before she wrote the book.]


  1. I loved the book and I really enjoyed the film too. It is worth seeing...Mark Kermode, a film reviewer who is very much in line with my thinking, said something like "it isn't the film you think it's going to be from the subject matter". it isn't. In fact, it is really quite "affirming". If you can get to see it, do! I heartily recommend it.

  2. Your comment about language reminds me of the confusion between "putting down" a pet (We had to have Rover put down) and a baby
    (I'm just going to put the baby down) That has caused no end of distress to some children!!!

    1. Yes, and we say we will cut a tree down, and the we will cut it up! Crazy language!!

  3. I haven't read the book because I wasn't sure that I could deal with the subject matter. The film , however is outstanding and I agree that it is not the film that you expect it to be. I found it life affirming and the performances are amazing

    1. Life-affirming is an excellent adjectives. I probably wouldn't have read the book without my daughter's recommendation. Like most new mums, she's more sensitive at the minute. I figured that if she could cope, then I could too!

  4. The YFG and I read the book when it first came out, and we went to see the film when it was in the cinema and found it much better than we expected - we are a family of book snobs, always expecting the film not to be as good as the book, but this one was good!

  5. Thank you for the book review and those who reviewed the film. I will be looking for this book and if the movie comes to this part of the world would definitely go and see.

  6. The film is every bit as good as the book.


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