Friday, November 5, 2010


Five-year-old Jack in Emma Donoghue's Room has lived in the same room since his birth. His mother, Ma, has lived there for seven years—ever since she was kidnapped by “Old Nick.” The story of their captivity is narrated by the young Jack.

A lot of buzz has surrounded Donoghue’s latest novel—I first heard about it on NPR—mostly because of the young narrator. Jack’s voice is definitely unique. However, it is also often jarringly inconsistent. At times, Jack sounds like a caveman. At other times, he has the vocabulary of a PhD. Many times, Jack’s narration distracts from an otherwise interesting story.

If you can get over Jack’s voice, the story of what Ma does to survive and to protect her son, and the consequences of their captivity, is an intriguing one. The reality of teenagers and children held captive for years seems to be becoming more prevalent, and I appreciate Donoghue’s attempt to tackle such a sensitive topic without being overly sentimental.

No comments: