I love audiobooks. I've dabbled in them over the years, but it's just been this last year or so that I've been listening to them consistently. Ever since I started working as a receptionist and doing data entry, they can make my day go by so much faster, and I've read upwards of 20 books in the last year by listening to them at work! I know people who don't think that audiobooks count as reading, but to them I say, baloney. It might not be your cup of tea, but don't discount it altogether. I'm still ingesting a story, and sometimes audio is just as powerful as print.
Yesterday, I finished listening to Room by Emma Donoghue. I read this book back in 2010 or 2011, and I thought it was really good. I'd been wanting to reread it ever since I found out about the movie that came out a year ago, and when a friend of mine on YouTube said that the audiobook of it was really good, I decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did.
This a story told from the point of view of 5 year-old Jack who lives with his Ma in Room. Jack was born in Room and has never known anything else. He and Ma sleep, eat, exercise, play, and learn in their 11x11 space. Every night Ma puts Jack to bed in Wardrobe, and after Jack goes to bed, that's when Old Nick comes. Jack is perfectly happy with their life, but for 7 years Ma has been captive in Room, and she's desperate to be free.
Room is not a book for the faint of heart. This book ripped my heart into shreds. I finished it yesterday and I cannot stop thinking about it. There are so many interesting things that Donoghue did with the storytelling and themes. It's certainly interesting that she chose to tell the story through the eyes of a child, and I feel that it tells a very different story than if she had chosen to tell it through the eyes of Ma. Seeing things through Jack's eyes puts the situation into such an innocent light, while we as the reader know that Ma was kidnapped and has been held as a prisoner all these years. We know that Jack is a result of rape. We know that Ma is living in every woman's nightmare. But hearing these things in the voice of a child somehow makes it even more horrifying, because a child is in the middle of all of this.
The audiobook of room is narrated really well. It's done in a child's voice, with other voice actors doing the adult characters dialogue. I've heard that the child voice is hard for some people to get into, so it might not be for everyone.
I measured my bedroom yesterday, mostly because I have been wondering for a while what the square footage of our house was (I forgot almost promptly after we bought it). And maybe subconsciously I did it yesterday because I just finished reading this book. My bedroom is 12x13. I cannot imagine being trapped in that room for 7 years, raising a child on top of it. And in that moment, I prayed for every woman and child that is in the same situation as Ma and Jack, everyone held captive by evil men. I think if a book can move you to prayer, than it's done a very good job at telling a story.
I would highly recommend Room to those that want to read a gripping story, or want to read something powerful. There is hope at the end of all of this, so if it feels like it might be too heavy at times, just keep going. I have so many thoughts on this book, I'm planning on filming a spoilery book talk for my YouTube channel this weekend, hopefully I will have that up soon. I also plan to watch the movie soon while the book is fresh in my mind, I'd like to do a book to movie comparison as well. Just today I heard of a new book called Baby Doll which sounds very similar to Room, so I'm kind of curious to see how it compares to this one.
Have you read Room? What did you think? Do you have a hard time reading stories about subject matter like this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!