(Little, Brown and Company, September 2010, $ 24.99 hardcover)
Finished Emma Donoghue's Room the week before last, and I've taken my time digesting it. Final verdict is it's a brutal read, but for what it is it's well done. Very well done.
The book's about a young 20-something woman who's been held captive by an older man in a sound-proof room – located in the back of his yard – since she was 19. During that time she had a baby boy, a son named Jack, who becomes the center of her world. Despite her dire circumstances, or maybe because of them, she raises her son in as well-rounded a way as she's able. She keeps him to a strict schedule, limiting his TV, including time for physical exercise (running around the very small room), and doing what arts and crafts she can with him using recycled materials such as toilet paper rolls, milk cartons, etc. She is a remarkable young woman.
Once they're able to escape, Jack (who's been told everything on TV is pretend, and there's nothing outside) undergoes a difficult transition adjusting to everyday life. I thought Donoghue did an excellent job portraying how hard this really would have been for a child who's known nothing but confinement all his life.
I would recommend the book, though the subject matter's extremely upsetting. It made me feel very depressed, but then after things started resolving I was much relieved. An intense but well-written book.
[I read a free review copy of this book.]