Just read Room by Emma Donoghue. Started today, ended today. So fucking good a book I just couldn’t put it down. Unlike my Lady Chatterley which I doubt that I will ever finish. Room was so easy to read and just so … fascinating. So basically it’s this story of how Jack, a five year old, and his Ma, who was kidnapped by Old Nick when she was nineteen, survived in Room, which is hidden in Old Nick’s backyard, a modern soundproof dungeon. 11×11 and it looks like this.


Jack has to be asleep in the Wardrobe by nine because that’s when there’s beep beep noise and Old Nick comes in through Door. Jack sees him through the slat of Wardrobe sometimes. Old Nick rapes Ma regularly but she’s given up fighting back just to keep Jack safe. She had lost a baby girl, which Old Nick buried behind Room. Ma figured that Old Nick lost his job and she was afraid. With Jack, they escaped. Out in the world, Jack is unable to accustom to the ways of the normal world. Still breastfed at five, he lacked social skills. Totally dependent on his mother, he thinks of them as one. “Me-and-Ma”, instead of me. It’s “us”, “ours”, “we”.

After reading this I’m just like … wow. 11×11, he lived there, 5 years. When he thought he knew everything, he realized he knew nothing. All he was told was that TV is fantasy, not real. “Water is real, seas and rivers are TV”. “Skyscrapers are TV”. He’s saved, rescued, and freed. Returning to the real world out there, he misses Room. Room was a prison to Ma, but to him, it was his world. He thought of it as where they belonged. What was astonishing was how the mother’s love for the son was so great that even as a young mother, with a child of her captor’s, she lavished all her love upon the son. He was all that mattered to her. And she was all that mattered to him. A bond between mother and son, so strong that nothing could come in between. Even in a confined space, she taught him to read, write, count, and even “Phys Ed”. That is something.

The book just made me really think. I thought it would just be another book that is, ‘oh, it’s interesting, you should read it’ or ‘it’s so touching! read it!’. We complain about being so confined, constricted and deprived of freedom, all the time. Do we really hate it that much where we are, really? Will we really like it that much, in an unfamiliar somewhere? With things we never thought were possible, where things are the same, yet different, how would we like it? Working so hard to get rid of what we have, but what do we find in the end anyway? And it just reminded me of the quote from Chrysalids “If you run away from a thing just because you don’t like it, you don’t like what you find either. Now, running to a thing, that’s a different matter, but what would you want to run to?” What are we trying to run to?

I just feel that I have so so much to talk about after reading this book, yet I don’t know what I really want to talk about. It’s just this feeling when you know there’s so much within that you want to let out, yet not knowing what is within. You wanna let go, but you don’t know how.


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