Room by Emma Donahue

Cover imageThis book is clearly based on the Fritzl case that shocked us all. There is a basic ethical question here as to whether it is acceptable for an author to use the horrifying real-life experiences of someone else as the basis for a money-making novel. But I bought the book and I may as well review it, although I’m probably the last person in the country to read it and with over 800 reviews already another one is hardly going to matter.
The original twist of making the narrator a 5-year-old worked for me. If the narrator had been the mother I’m sure it would have had less impact. As it was I found myself constantly forced into considering the experiences of a child living his entire life confined to a single room with only his mother (who must have been living in a perpetual state of anguish) and a television guiding his development.
The contrast between Jack’s life and the love-filled, joyful, stimulation-packed existence of my granddaughter (same age) kept bringing tears to my eyes.
In the unlikely event that there might be someone reading this who hasn’t aleady read the book, I’ll avoid giving away the storyline. I’ll just say that the tension mounted as I read on and I was really rooting for Jack and Ma.
I read it in a single session and two months later it’s still fresh in my mind.

I bought it for Kindle from Amazon but it’s available in print format from all good bookshops.