Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bay Bookworms: Room

This week my bookclub, Bay Bookworms, discussed Room by Emma Donoghue.

It was at my house and we had chipotle pork and Hammertime ice-cream.

Room: Jack at first seems to be a typical five-year-old.   He likes to read books, watch TV and play games with his Ma. But we soon realise he has lived all his life in a 11x11ft space with only his mother and a foreboding night-time visitor known as Old Nick.

The Room was a little tedious in its delivery and I wish some the characters were more developed. However overall it was an interesting read and I was captured by the human spirit when in confinement as well as the struggles that exist both physically and mentally when interacting with the outside world. I am not sure I would actually recommend others to read this book for pleasure but found the overall content worthwhile for book club discussion.

The subject is very sad and makes you want to read more and more until there is a happy ending. However at the same time I need to say that a story with such a great potential was a let-down for me. Some characters were not well developed and it left holes in the story. I didn't feel the suspense that some of the happenings should provide. The redeeming fact about the story was that it was written using the perspective of a five-year-old boy. All in all, decent reading that will fade away from my memory very soon.

I wound up being bowled over by this book. It was a struggle at first, so uncomfortable, but ultimately so human and true and triumphant. Loved it.

Based on the subject matter of the book, I would not have purchased it. I was intrigued by how many people liked it on Amazon and of course we chose it for our bookclub. I thought the book was interesting but it is not a book I would run out to recommend to friends. It is like reading The Lovely Bones where you just want to go and hug your daughter, whatever her age.

I actually put this book forward twice for our bookclub because so many friends and family had raved about it.  But when it came to actually reading it, I left it to the last minute. In fact I read it today - the day after bookclub. The first part when Ma and son are in the room together is captivating in a dreading sort of way. The succession of little activities in their day are completely compelling and the patience, inventiveness and unerring love of the young mother is incredibly touching.  But bizarrely outside the room, the book loses its intensity and small facts start to nag and credulity was stetched. Also the other characters are not developed - I don't particularly want to get into the mind of Old Nick, but without visiting his motivations and background the story is not complete.

The novel reminds me that art imitates life. In this case the writer models her plots from news stories and it can be raw and uncomfortable when you pierce the veil.

Our next book is Just Kids by Patti Smith.


  1. Wish I was in your book club {if only for the food}! Seriously I've been meaning to join one for the past few years. They seem so fun!

    xo Mary Jo

  2. Have you seen this article:

    I have tried a few of these easy fast salads and they are my go-to's for a quick weekday dish.

    My fav? - Mix wedges of tomatoes and peaches, add slivers of red onion, a few red-pepper flakes and cilantro. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice. I add avocado chunks for a creaminess!!! out of this world!


  3. i totally agree with luiz. my girlfriends and i do book club but we tend to get together and eat and drink and the book becomes last thought. ha!

  4. smiling faces in your bookclub...wonderful

  5. Jody... this is one of the neatest blog posts I've read! I loved hearing the different perspectives of your book club members (such a cute name for the group!), and while I don't think I'll be picking up this book, I'm excited to hear your thoughts on the next pick!

  6. Love the way you have set this up with each person giving their review - great idea!

  7. Yes, totally agree with the others in regards to the 'coolness' of this post. Love seeing your fellow members!

    You sound like me... reading the book the day after. Due to health issues of one of the members of my book club, the Feb. meeting was postponed to the 9th. Have not yet started the book (The Maybelline Story), but NEED to today!! Then, the actual March meeting is on the 16th... haven't started that book either.

    I really must get on it. :)

  8. nice to hear everyone's take on the same book. I was in a book club a few years ago but dropped out because they never discussed the book. Now the moms in my neighborhood have what they call a book club, but they don't even pretend to read books--it's just about getting together and drinking and talking. I'm ok with that :)

  9. Never heard of it but I generally never read anything sad.

  10. We did this in our book club too in Feb. I thought it was well written but am slightly uncomfortable with it so closely following the Fritzel etc occurances. To me, the similiarity tends to lead the reader to think that the responses of the characters must represent the way things in those publicised cases. So I tend to think these books are quite exploitive.

  11. Oh 'Just Kids' is fab! I hope you are enjoying it. I look forward to your review.

  12. Not sure I want to read the book but we've chosen it for our book club...was hoping they'd choose True Grit which I have just read utterly fabulous and better than both films!!!


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