Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ms. Hen reviews ROOM the novel

Ms. Hen drinks Nitro coffee and enjoys the world

Emma Donoghue
Little, Brown

Ms. Hen saw the film ROOM earlier this year, and she had heard that the book was completely through the little boy, Jack’s, point of view. She usually likes novels written from unique perspectives, so she decided to read this book.

Usually it’s a big no-no to see a film before you read a novel, but this novel is so different from the film that Ms. Hen believes it’s acceptable in this case. There are many similar plot points in both the film and the book, but what makes the book original is the voice.

The voice of Jack, the little boy held hostage for the first five years of his life, is a voice unlike Ms. Hen has ever read. When she saw the film, she was amazed that such a thing could happen, that a woman would be kidnapped, and her child could be born in captivity, and how it could ruin or warp a person forever, but Jack is a child that is willing to learn and capable of change. In the beginning of the novel, Jack and his mother are celebrating his birthday, and his mother wants to figure out how to escape. Jack doesn’t know any other world other than the 11 by 11 shed in which he lives with his mother, Room.

Jack’s mother tries to teach him about the world outside Room, but Jack gets upset. He thinks trees are only on TV, and stores and people aren’t real, but when he tries to understand, he fights it. Whenever he sees a spider or an ant in Room, he gets excited because it’s something that’s tangible, but his mother kills the ants and the pests because she tells him they’re dirty. His mother wants him to learn that the world is real, and she knows they have to plan their escape.

Ms. Hen was astounded at the author’s ability to stay in Jack’s voice for the entire novel. She understands that some people might find it annoying, but Ms. Hen thinks it’s a great feat for a writer. It’s similar to watching gymnasts in the Olympics, the audience wonders how the competitors can do amazing jumps and leaps and twists. It was that way for Ms. Hen reading this novel. It takes enormous talent and experience to write a novel from the point of view of a five-year-old who has never been outside a small room.

This novel is about motherhood, but it’s also about childhood. It made Ms. Hen try to remember what it was like to be five years old. Five is about the time when a child starts to realize things and remember things, and Ms. Hen thinks that Jack is realistic in the way he is depicted.

There are many ways in which Jack is a little too sophisticated for his age and experience. He remembers everything his mother told him, and it’s possible that since he was in such close contact with his mother, and she was the only person he knew, that he would be more advanced than other children his age. He knows words and stories that other children would not know.

ROOM is a sad novel, but it’s also full of hope. It could make the reader appreciate the things that person has in life, especially freedom. Ms. Hen thinks it’s worth reading this novel to experience what it’s like to have your eyes opened and to finally discover the world.

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