Emma Donoghue - Room (2 stars)

Emma Donoghue - Room


Inspired by the notorious Fritzl family case, Room is the story of a young boy and his mother, both held captive in a fortified shed. Their kidnapper, Old Nick, frequently rapes Jack’s mother while he hides in the wardrobe where he sleeps, counting the squeaks of the bed. On Jack’s fifth birthday, his mother decides they must escape, eventually succeeding when she tells Old Nick that Jack has died and wraps him in a rug for disposal. Jack escapes and is taken in by the police who locate the house and rescue his mother. Amidst a medical and media barrage, their lives stumble towards normality.

Narrated by the boy, the closeness of the mother-son relationship is touching, but the book is claustrophobic and unrelentingly bleak. As a study of the psychological impact of imprisonment, it’s interesting, but will certainly not brighten your day.

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