Saturday, January 15, 2011


Room: A NovelI made three New Year's resolutions for 2011: #1 to stop swearing, #2 to play the piano more, and #3 to write a book. I'm doing fairly well on #1. I think it's been a couple of days since I cursed, and then I had been down to one a day. I'll count that as a success. I haven't touched the piano yet this year, except to get Mia to practice, so I'm falling down on that one. I've reached the point on #3 where as they say, the rubber meets the road. I've done my research. Put together some background materials and written up a plan of action. My plan of action says that it's time for me to create a working outline and then start writing. This is where I normally freeze up. I'm great at coming up with ideas for books, not so good at fulfilling them. This year I will succeed, but I have to admit, I'm terrified. This time, I'm not doing it on my own strength, but on His, no matter how scary it gets. Excuse me, Mr. Rubber? Meet Mr. Road. And away we go!

Room by Emma Donoghue is a fascinating fictional take at a story that compelled the nation in 2009. Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped and held hostage in the kidnapper's backyard for eighteen years, and when she was found, she had two children. In Donoghue's version, a five year old boy named Jack has lived every single moment of his entire life in a small twelve-by-twelve room, seeing no one other than his mother and "Old Nick" who visits her nightly. Ma and Jack fill their days with Phys Ed routines that consist of running around the room in circles and bouncing on the bed to keep up their muscles, eating carefully portioned meals, watching an hour of TV a day, and reading their nine books. He knows every story and song his mother can remember, but he believes that everything he sees on TV is make-believe because there is nothing outside of Room. Ma shatters his illusions by telling him the true story of how she came to live in Room so that they can come up with a plan for escape, but how will a little boy who has known nothing else react to the Outside? Donoghue does a remarkable job of telling the story through Jack's eyes. He doesn't always understand what he is seeing, but his narration makes actions clear to the reader, a careful balance she does very well. Readers can't help but empathize with this little boy's fears and desire to be safe again, as well as with his mother's need to reclaim her old life. Donoghue's writing reads like nonfiction; it rings so true to the heart, it's almost painful to keep reading. This book definitely earned its title as one of the best books of 2010.