Michael's Musings

FridayReads: Room

(FridayReads is a weekly feature in which I discuss a book that I’m either currently reading or just have on my mind. It is inspired by @TheBookMaven and her #FridayReads hashtag.)

I debated whether I could write about the book on my mind this week, because I keep this blog kid-friendly, and while the book is about a kid, it’s certainly not for kids. Still, this novel has captured my imagination, and so I’ll jot some thoughts. The book on my brain?

Room by Emma Donoghue

The thing that grabbed me about Room — and this is true for most people who love the book — is the voice. I’m big on voice, and big on unreliable narration; I’m stunned by Donoghue’s ambition in depicting such a unique worldview (that of a five-year-old child of an abductee who has no knowledge of the world outside of the room in which he and his mother are being held). Again, in case it’s not obvious, I should note that this is not a kids’ book.

I read this book at exactly the right time, as I’m thinking a lot about limited worldviews while developing my YA book and my MG historical piece. What blows me away most about Room is the way the main character’s way of life has given him a personal vocabulary and a very specific and self-consistent interpretation.

For my characters, their views aren’t as extremely limited as this boy’s, but still, they have blind spots that affect the way their stories play out. It was great to see that approach taken so far, to the outer limits, in Room. It’s an at-times very difficult read, especially if you have kids or spent a lot of time with them — but it’s truly a page-turner. I set out to read the first 50 pages and wound up reading in bed until four in the morning to see how it ended. Absolutely worth your time.

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