Friday, 4 February 2011

i've read of a man up in a room, who can control everything i do..

recently i decided to join in with the book club which Gemma has set up over on her blog..
i've just finished our first book;
Room by Emma Donoghue
as i was reading this for a book club, i tried to be as objective as possible (or at least that sounds better than to say lazy!) by avoiding reading any reviews, as it wasn't a book i had heard of, but it was one which several members of the group seemed to want to read, so i ordered it once decided and got started almost as soon as it arrived..and then i hit a bit of a wall..i found it a little difficult to get into the way in which the first half of the book was was clear that the writer was narrating from the point of view of Jack; a five year old boy who lives in a soundproofed shed in the garden of his mother's captor, and therefore knows nothing of the existence of an outside world..i didn't find the find the boy's narrative endearing, or intriguing in the slightest - just annoying and very difficult to get into..i found the sentence structure and consistent grammatical errors somewhat ironic, given that the reader is to believe that Jack is such an intelligent felt more like the story had been written, and then some childish speak written in to make it sound more authentically childish..which it didn't..
to refrain from spoiling the plot for anyone i won't go into details, but i thought that the first half of the book really dragged; it then felt that the second half was being rushed and crammed into the remianing page-space to compensate, where some of the events really could have benefitted from a little more explanation and description..some of it was (for example the interview) completely unrealistic, and other parts were just plain annoying, but perhaps that is the reader's frustration with the fact that the character did not know anything (i do realise that was kinda the idea, but i personally didn't find it very easy to read)

there are of course strong parrallels with the recent josef fritzl case throughout the book; despite whatever claims had been made to say it was unrelated, it does seem a little as though it was written to cash in on this news-story, so perhaps that would be a reason for it's rushed feel..or perhaps the rushed feel is completely intentional to mirror the way Jack is supposed to be feeling - as though there is such a rushed pressure on him to take everything in and understand it..either way, it meant i didn't enjoy the second half of the book any more than the first..

i hope next month's choice is gets a point in my book for being different to anything i have read, but then gets lots taken away for being so difficult to get into!


  1. Oh no, this is on my 'to read' pile and this is the first negative review I've seen. I guess I'll draw my own conclusions when I get around to it...

  2. Oh it doesn't sound like the best book to me but good review! I'm a bit wary of adult books written from the POV of a child. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is outstanding but I've yet to come across others that do it well.

  3. Aw, such a shame you didn't enjoy it. I agree about the structure - the first half was quite drawn out while the second seemed rushed - but I did enjoy the narrative from Jack's POV. I loved the way inanimate objects were given names and thought that was a clever way to bring them to life as characters, especially in the first half of the book where it was just Jack and Ma.

    I'd like to read more from Donoghue. Have you read any of her other books?

  4. Oh that is unfortunate that you didn't enjoy the first book. Hopefully the next choice will be good. Your review is very well written. I am rubbish if I don't get into a book early on, I tend to just abandon it. x

  5. An online book club is a fantastic idea. I've not read this book but I really enjoyed your review xx