Sunday, January 2, 2011

Books: Room

Room by Emma Donoghue

Writing a book from a child's perspective is difficult. I don't think anyone can fully remember what it means to be a child, think like a child, reason like a child, see others as a child sees them. Donoghue  tries her hand at writing a story from a child's point of view. But she takes it one step further, or rather, many steps further. The child has no knowledge of the outside world. The "world" in which this child lives is elevent feet square, and he knows of only two other other people, his Ma, and their captor.

The child turns five, and slowly begins to pick apart the reality his Ma has created for him. Trusting in each other, they plot their escape. I think one of the most beautiful things Donoghue does with her writing of this child is not only let us into his mind where this reality has been built, but also to watch that reality be deconstructed once he is on the Outside. It's captivating, really, to consider that all that we believe is what we've been taught, and what we know of love shapes who we are.

(As a sidenote, it must be stated that the only way I was able to read this newly released book was by the grace of the Multnomah County Library, which lets you put holds on books via the internet, my wonderful friend Amanda, who picked up the book for me before I got to Portland, the librarian who let her do it, and God who timed it all just right. Ha.)

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