by Emma Donoghue
This book was intense! It's the story of a woman who was kidnapped and held for seven years in a small 11x11 room. During that time, she had a child. That child, Jack, is now five years old and we see this incredibly sensitive topic through his eyes. It's such a creative and interesting way to tell the story, because from the perspective of someone who knows nothing except for a room, the outside world is not only a mystery but a fiction. But to his mother, the outside world is a place she is desperate to get back to, but she can't tell Jack there's a big world out there he'll never get to see. Through Jack, we learn about Room, about Ma, about escape attempts, and about what's real and not real. It's both heartbreaking and compelling.
There were times I was absolutely, 100% certain one or both of them were going to be killed by "Old Nick," the man who kidnapped them. I definitely screamed a few times as well. But things did not go the way I thought they would. Jack's mother was so incredibly clever, I went back and forth between pity and awe. I don't know if I would have thought to do some of those things if I'd been in her place; she made her life with Jack bearable and their survival in such incredible circumstances possible.
And just when I thought the story was over, there was another whole half of the book I hadn't anticipated that was just as good as the first part and dealt with even more physical and psychological aspects. I loved that the book didn't shy away from dark concepts, even though it was a 5-year-old narrating. Jack doesn't always understand what he's telling us, but the reader gets it. What beautiful, clever writing to work on multiple levels like that.
This was definitely a great read, and I loved this audio version with so many different readers for different characters; made it feel even more real.