Room - Emma Donoghue This is quite an unusual read for me. It's different because it's written from the perspective of a five-year-old boy, and that perspective is not one that I'm used to. That makes it an interesting and experimental read for me.

As I was reading it, I could not help but thinking about the horrific cases of recent years, such as the Fritzl, the Dugard and Kampusch cases just to name a few. There is no doubt in my mind, that life must have been a living nightmare for the women involved, being held captive against their will, being raped on a regular basis and also had to endure other sorts of abuse. But what was life like when you were born as a result of rape and kept captive like your mother? What was life like when you didn’t know anything else? How did you cope with living in the outside world once you escaped? Those are questions that most of us, luckily, will never be able to truly comprehend, nor will we ever really be able to answer them.

I think that the confusion portrayed in Jack is realistic, for instance his dislike of being touched by other people than his mother and his fear of ringing telephones – imagine living your entire life in a tiny room, believing that there is no outside world, and then all of a sudden you get (gradually) exposed to it. It has to be traumatic, confusing and frightening.

After reading a while I found that I lost interest in the characters. No, losing interest a wrong term, rather: I got a bit turned off/appalled by their actions, mostly Ma’s actions. I understand that she has been severely traumatized, but deliberately letting her become catatonic, for later even attempting suicide seems off somehow, out of character especially when you consider that Ma kept claiming that all she ever wanted to do was to keep her child safe (and escape too). What's more, is that the child, Jack, is kept too cuddled and baby-like with the continued breastfeeding (this part really rubbed me the wrong way). I fail to understand what the point is of this added interdependency and attachment between mother and child is good for; certainly it didn't drive the story further IMHO, in my mind it actually twisted it a bitin the end though she does stop breastfeeding him. Sure, I know that many will claim that it was the mother’s way to keeping him secure and letting him feel safe – but still? To me it shows an unnatural subconscious desire of keeping the child a baby as long as possible, instead of teaching it independence and that he is his own person, which is only amplified by the frequent “I belong to you Ma” – as if he’s nothing but an object, her own piece of pastime and consolation. In the book Ma wants both of them to escape and be free (which make sense), but why doesn’t she act more like it and try to raise her child differently? I realise that she is traumatized, but still, this is very inconsistent, IMHO.

The religious elements in this book also peeved me off. As an Atheist, I find it really heard to understand why/how the author kept this religious undertone throughout the book and let the Mother keep her faith and indoctrinate her child - wouldn't her whole ordeal push her away from religion? It has to be the religious views of the author that are shining through here, I believe.

Given the chance, or choice if you will, it might be quite interesting and more meaningful, as a whole, to read the stories written by the actual survivors of the before mentioned cases, such as 3096 Days and A Stolen Liferather than this work of fiction. Having said that I do believe it's worth spending time on this specific book and read it. Criticism aside, this book is definitely worth reading, but it's certainly not for everyone to enjoy.

PS. The author will never cook for me: the description of Carbonara is totally off - take it from me: I grew up in Italy and have Italian blood flowing through my veins ;-)

This review has also been posted on my blog.