Emma Donoghue’s intriguing book, Room is narreated by the main character Jack, who is only 5. This book is a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible. Emma Donoghue really embraced the young character of Jack in her writing. Jack and his Ma live in what they call “Room”. Room is all Jack knows, he was born and grew up only knowing Room. Room is home to Jack but to Ma it’s where she has been imprisoned by Old Nick for 7 years. Ma has tried to make the best life for Jack but knows that’s not enough. She wants Jack to grow up like a normal kid.
Emma Donoghue gave an interview to The Guardian, in which she said that her story was inspired by the true story of Elisabeth Fritzl. Elisabeth Fritzl is a woman who was held captive by her father, Josef Fritzl, for 24 years. In the book we go on a journey while Ma is coming up with a bold escape plan. This plan relies on Jack, her young son and his bravery.
For more background information I found Emma Donoghue’s website talking about all her books. For each of her books she includes a personal note, for Room she says “Room was inspired by having kids; the locked room is a metaphor for the claustrophobic, tender bond of parenthood. I borrowed observations, jokes, kid grammar and whole dialogues from our son Finn, who was five while I was writing it”. Hearing the background of the book can help us as readers understand and feel more connected to the story.
This whole story was told from 5 year old Jack, Donoghue did a great job connecting her readers to the young boy. Readers get the full perspective of how Jack feels during the book and can see the confusion he has when Ma tells him about the outside world. Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to go through a journey from one world to another.