She points at Watch that says 08:57, that’s only three minutes before nine. So I run into Wardrobe and lie down on my pillow and wrap up in Blanket that’s all gray and fleecy with the red piping. … I sit and put my face up against the slats, I can see slices of TV that’s off, Toilet, Bath, my blue octopus picture going curly, Ma putting our clothes back in Dresser. “Ma?”
“Why am I hided away like the chocolates?”
I think she’s sitting on Bed. She talks quiet so I can hardly hear. “I just don’t want him looking at you. Even when you were a baby, I always wrapped you up in Blanket before he came in.”
Room in one word is: Harrowing.
In two: Beautifully written.In a sentence: A book that will stay with you forever.
Jack lives with his Ma in Room. He just turned five. His days with Ma are busy: He waters Plant on Dresser, counts his one hundred cereal for breakfast, plays Hum with Ma – he usually guesses the songs right -, he does Phys Ed, lifting Table upside down onto Bed and Rocker and covering it with Rug and playing Track form Bed to Wardrobe, to Lamp, he does Scream, climbing on Table to be closer to Skylight and screaming as loudly as possible, he has five books to read with Ma, and can watch TV. His favourite is Dora the Explorer; she is his friend. But TV isn’t real. Only him and Ma, and Spider. The people on TV, the dogs and cats and weather aren’t real.
At night, he goes to sleep in Wardrobe.
I lie down under Blanket and I wait. When Old Nick creaks bed, I listen and count fives on my fingers, tonight is’s 217 creaks. I always have to count till he makes that gaspy sound and stops. I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t count, because I always do.
What about the nights I’m asleep?
I don’t now, maybe Ma does the counting.
After the 217 it’s all quiet.
All Jack knows, and all he has ever known, is Room. The 12 by 12 foot room he lives, in, sleeps in, and was born in. When he turns five, his mother starts telling him about Outside. That things on TV are real, that there are other people Outside, that Ma has a mother and father, that Jack has a family. Jack doesn’t believe any of it – until one day, through Skylight, he sees a aeroplane and a leaf lands on Skylight; signs that Ma is telling the truth and there is an Outside.
This book will stay with you for a long time, if not forever. It is one of those books that cannot be compared to any other, and is like nothing you have ever read before. Imagine the most distressing and traumatic story, told by a sweet and innocent 5-year-old.
Room has its own website, should you need any more convincing!
Room, by Emma Donoghue
ISBN-10: 0330519026 (ISBN-13: 978-0330519021)