The Life of Bon: Blog Book Club July: Room by Emma Donoghue

Monday, August 01, 2016

Blog Book Club July: Room by Emma Donoghue

HELLO!  And welcome to July's book club.  This post was suppoooooooosed to go up on Thursday, but hey, at least it's going up (which is more than I can say for last month's book club post!) so I call that a victory.  And three cheers for more consistent posting in the future!

Don't know what Bon's Book Club is but might possibly want to join in next month?  All the details are here.  August's book is The Martian so get reading if you want to join in on the fun.  And the best part of it is that if you're local we meet up at my home to discuss the book the fourth Wednesday of every month.  It is always my favorite night of the month.  We eat good food and have interesting discussion with intelligent women.  All my favorite things in this world!


Room is about a woman who has been abducted and lives alone in a small shack with her five year old son who was born while she was in captivity.   Knowing that this was the premise, I actually expected it to be much darker than it was.  The story is told from the point of view of five year old Jack, which I think prevents it from becoming too heavy mainly because he doesn't know what is going on so much of the time.  As an adult you can figure out what is going on by the clues he gives you and by the things his mom tells him, but it is a child's version of a very horrific thing.  I appreciated this as I took this book on our east coast vacation with me and was afraid that the whole thing would get very heavy very quickly.  It didn't!

What did you think of the POV being that of the five year old?  
I will admit that the first 30 pages or so were really rough for me.  Jack is a little kid and so had a little kid way of describing things and sometimes it took me a while to figure out what he was trying to say.  It reminded me of trying to read Huck Finn or Their Eyes Were Watching God- it was like I had to get used to the dialect.  Once I did get used to his voice and his way of speaking, I loved it.  Great way to tell the story and very interesting to hear it from such a young boy's perspective.

What were your favorite parts of the book?  
-The book started a little slow for me with the routine of the "Room", but picked up as soon as Ma and Jack started thinking of ways to escape.  The escape and everything surrounding it was definitely the most exciting for me- loved the man who helped him (although I really wished that we would have seen him again in the book.  I kept thinking that he would later meet Ma so she could thank him for his help or something).  

- I loved reading about some of the getting-back-into-the-real-world stuff.  Very interesting to see everything from Jack's point of view as someone who had only seen one tiny room his whole life and then suddenly be opened up to an entire world.

-I really enjoyed the character of Ma.  I thought she was extremely complex and tough--- almost to the point of being hard to like.  (For example, when she kept snapping at the tv news reporter).  I admired her strength and resiliency, though.  I loved everything she taught Jack to do while they were in the room- the way she had a schedule for him, the way they read, the way she had a "P.E. time" so they could get exercise, the way she described everything to him.  I really loved their special little relationship.

What was your least favorite part of the book?
- I felt like the last 30-50 pages were way too slow.  I basically hated the entire part where Jack is staying with grandma.  I didn't see a huge point to it, and I felt like it really dragged out the book.  I don't know where the best stopping point for a story like this is, but that just felt unnecessary.

- I wanted a little more closure with Nick.  It was frustrating to me that we didn't get to really hear what happened with him, how he was caught, what his sentence would be, etc, etc, etc.  I understand that because this was told from Jack's POV we couldn't really know much about that as Jack himself wouldn't have known much about it.  But it was still frustrating to me.  I always need some good closure.

- Just from a technical point of view, I feel like Ma would have had many more than just two pregnancies in seven years considering the frequency with which Nick was "visiting" her.  This is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.  "Why didn't she get pregnant more?  The author should have addressed that!"

What did you think of the fact that Ma still breastfed Jack?  Why do you think Donoghue chose to include that?
This was interesting to talk about at book club- almost all of us could totally understand why Ma still breastfed.  For starters, she was constantly worrying about how much food Jack was getting and if he was receiving enough nutrition so that alone made sense.  Add the closeness, the emotional bond, the fact that they only had each other in the world and I think we all kind of understood.  Of course, after they leave Room she is criticized for it, but that's the world!

Have you read Room?  Leave your comments!  I'd love to hear what you thought.  And get reading for next month!  The Martian can get quite technical for us non-science people!

Book Club Schedule 2016:

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