In case you have missed the buzz surrounding this book, it is the story of a girl who was kidnapped at the age of 19 and locked in a room for 7 years; as told by her 5-year old son, Jack.
I heard Emma Donoghue interviewed a few weeks ago and she was influenced by the real-life story of the Austrian father who imprisoned his daughter in the basement for many years which hit the media a few years ago when the situation was discovered.
The book isn't perfect. I had trouble at first believing Jack's voice. For a child who is already able to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and write and parrot long passages heard on television, his grammar should be better than it is. My almost-4-year-old nephew speaks better English than Jack. And even if he knows the word "sarcasm", I can't see a 5-year-old being able to recognize it.
But even though this bothered me in the first few pages, I quickly forgot about these quibbles as I got drawn into the story. And I really was drawn into it - I found myself harshly jarred back to reality when the phone rang; and I had trouble falling asleep after finishing as the world of the book seemed more real than the real world.
It is a very well crafted story, with 5 separate sections: Presents (describing life in Room as experienced by Jack), Unlying (Jack discovering that there is a real world outside of room - his mother undoing the lies that she has been telling him), Dying (the escape from Room), After (the aftermath of the escape), Living (learning to live outside of Room).
This book is the only Canadian book to make the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it on other book prize lists this year. Certainly all of the buzz that I have seen/heard/read about it is positive, and I have to agree with that buzz.
This is yet another book towards the Canadian Book Challenge over at The Book Mine Set.