Genre: Adult Fiction
When I first read the horrific accounts of the Fritzl case on the internet I couldn't stop thinking about it. I couldn't even imagine the frustration, despair, and disorientation that a victim of such a long and isolated imprisonment would suffer. So, I was intrigued when I first heard about "Room", a novel that was inspired by the Fritzl case.
"Room" is the story of a boy named Jack, who in the opening pages of the novel has just turned five years old. Jack has lived the entirety of his life in a single room, in the company of his mother. The only visitor to the room is a mysterious man who Jack knows only as Old Nick. Old Nick always appears after 9:00 in the evening, and Jack's mother keeps him locked away safely in her wardrobe during these visits. Jack is a truly precocious child in many ways, but in others he has a limited understanding. He believes that the world he sees on television, including other people, trees, buildings, and animals are all "pretend."
I thought this book was very well written. Donoghue did a wonderful job in the development of Jack's character. At times I wished I knew a little bit more about some of other characters, but this limitation was more a product of Jack's first person narrative than the result of poor writing. I have read some who criticized the novel, particularly Jack's escape as improbable. The details of the escape didn't bother me so much, as the entire story of their imprisonment and its results were almost beyond belief, yet were based on real events. This novel made me think about how amazing it is that such things can happen under our noses, in our own communities, in the backyard next door.
I really enjoyed "Room" and found it to be thought provoking, insightful, and a page turner!