Room by Emma Donoghue

room book

For the building planner, the room book is an indispensable tool for planning a building. It allows for a clear and structured compilation of data, which is important both during construction and for the permanent use of the building studio. Disturbing queries with incorrect information can thus be avoided and a substantial amount of work time is saved. The room book is also used to record the data required for calculation and accounting purposes.

The room book is a document that is drawn up by the specialist planner in the design phase and is intended to provide information on the room-related determination of energy and water demands. It is also used to record the location and description of movable and immovable inventory. It also includes the technical equipment.

Room (London: Picador; Toronto: HarperCollins Canada; New York: Little Brown, 2010), Man Booker-shortlisted author Emma Donoghue’s seventh novel, is the story of a woman and her five-year-old son who spend their lives in a small shed they call Room. Despite their isolation, Jack and Ma live a happy and fulfilling life within its walls. Told in the inventive, wry voice of Jack, Room is not a horror tale or tearjerker but rather a triumphant and deeply moving novel about resilience and motherhood.

For the first part of the book, I was captivated by the way Donoghue created such a unique and imaginative world through the eyes of a five year old. It was really fascinating to see how Jack processes the world of limited possibilities he is living in, with just one small room and his mother.

As the story progresses, it becomes obvious that Jack is slowly getting more and more accustomed to the idea that there is a “world outside”. His innate curiosity is starting to make a break through. Eventually, Ma comes up with a plan to get them out of Room. Since Jack cannot conceptualize being outside of their shed or interacting with other people, she convinces him that they need to pretend that he is dying. He is very reluctant at first, but when Old Nick refuses to take him to a hospital and Jack lies dead, wrapped in a rug, Ma has no choice but to accept this reality and remove him from Room.

The ending is bittersweet and uplifting at the same time. It is a testament to the power of a mother’s love and her desire to protect her son from any unwelcome truths. It is also a reminder of the cruelty of the real world and how many children are still being held captive in solitary confinement in this country and around the globe.

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