This is how I’ll be spending my Christmas Day..reading this book. It just won the Man Booker Prize 2010 and is written by Emma Donoghue and is her ninth novel. And what a novel it is.
To begin with, it’s told in the eyes of a 5-year-old boy who was born and has spent his life so far in a room measuring 11 foot by 11 foot. He does not know that an outside world exists, his mother has not told him of such. When watching TV he believes that much is fictional, or is told to believe this by his mother. And so, this novel takes us through different parts of Jack’s life, including his 5th birthday, the relationship with his mother, their plan to escape and finally discovering what the outside world consists of.
It’s a good read, no…..it’s a great read. And it’s almost hard to get into when you are reading and thinking like a 5-year-old. It takes time to connect in his language where objects are referred to in capitals e.g Room, Table, Bath. I gave my mum the book after I finished it and she said the same. For the first few pages, you are becoming accustomed to the language, and listening to a five-year olds language is devastatingly innocent and heartbreaking. Once you get used to the language, it’s often really funny!
But it’s not like other novels where the main character is trapped and the novel ends with a glorious escape. This happens in the middle of the novel and we then get to embark on a journey as Jack discovers the real world. It’s so realistic and you can’t help but read the ‘actual escape’ with bated breath.
Reading this book, makes you think long and hard about life. About the strength and love of the human character and the evilness of the human mind also. It has whisperings that make you think about the Fritzl Case.
It’s devastatingly beautiful. So read it.