I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
*UPDATE* As of 9/13/10, this book has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Recently, the world was shocked to hear of the horrifying story of Austrian man Josef Fritzl who held his daughter imprisoned in an underground chamber for 24 years and fathered several children by her. When Elisabeth Fritzl managed to finally escape from this hell, the real work began for her and her children. ROOM was inspired by those events.
This is not an easy book to read.
ROOM is narrated by 5-year-old Jack. Jack's mother has been imprisoned in a garden shed for seven years and gave birth to Jack during her captivity. For Jack, Room is his whole world and he has never known a different one. His mother, Ma, has managed to create a life for him through the sheer force of her love and her will. They spend their days reading and playing games and at night, Ma shuts him into the wardrobe to keep him safe while "Old Nick" visits. After Jack's birthday, Ma realizes that something is going to have to change and devises a daring plan to try and escape.
This is a powerful and wonderful book about how resilient humans are and how strong the bond between a parent and child can be. By allowing Jack to narrate, the reader is able to see Room through more innocent eyes because of the world that Ma has created. Jack doesn't see his situation as horrific and frightening. It is the only home he has known and he is happy and content to share it with Ma. While the novel could have become prurient, it manages to rise above and reach something incredibly moving.
BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended. This is definitely in my Top Ten of 2010. As beautiful as it is painful and shocking. It is hard to review without giving too much away. Don't let the subject matter put you off. This is definitey a story about the fierce love between a parent and child.
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