Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1969. After her study at the University College Dublin, she decided to write books. She already won many prices, and her books have always been very popular because most of them are based on a true story, just like her latest novel. In this novel, Donoghue refers to the kidnapping and incest case of Josef Fritzl from Austria. This began in 1984 and ended in 2008. Fritzl kidnapped and imprisoned his daughter Elisabeth in his basement. He has six children with her. At the liberation, the oldest was 19 and the youngest was 6 years old. After Fritzls lawsuit he was sentenced to life imprisonment and hospital order.
In her book Room, Donoghue wanted to describe the life of the 5-year-old Felix (son of Elisabeth Fritzl) who had never been in the outer world. She said this in an interview with Sarah Crown from the Guardian:
She is keen, too, to contextualise the link between her novel and the Fritzl case. “To say Room is based on the Fritzl case is too strong,” she says firmly. “I’d say it was triggered by it. The newspaper reports of Felix Fritzl [Elisabeth’s son], aged five, emerging into a world he didn’t know about, put the idea into my head. That notion of the wide-eyed child emerging into the world like a Martian coming to Earth: it seized me.”
Room describes the world in the point of view of the 5-year-old Jack and his mother, who are both living in the Room. He knows that everything on TV is fake and that only he, his mother, old Nick and the rest of their belongings in Room are real. Until the moment his mother told him that there is an outside world and that they will go there as soon as possible. Jack isn’t happy at all! He would like to stay in Room, so he could play with his cars and run laps in Room (which is 11 by 11 foot barn). Eventually, Jack does go. He calls it ‘The Greatescape’, because if they’ll make it, Jack would be his mother’s hero, JackerJack.
Room is a very good book because it’s a brave and difficult subject for an author to write about. The connection between mother and son is very strong and beautiful and also well described. The book is written from the perspective of Jack, which makes it even harder for Emma Donoghue to convince the reader. But she did it. The story seems much realistic and therefore you really commiserate with Jack. An example of this is: The mother of Jack wants to escape. Jack mentions this as ‘The Greatescape’. But actually Jack doesn’t want to go. And after a while you will understand Jack and feel sympathy for him. How difficult would it be for a five-year-old to go to ‘the outer world’ all by himself. It’s even harder when you imagine that he had never been there before and he has to do it all by himself, without his mother. It’s an easy book with a rather difficult topic to discuss. Once you start reading, it’s impossible to stop.’
In short, the book Room is highly recommended. The style of writing isn’t complex or hard to read, but still it’s very exciting without being childish.
ROOM by Emma Donoghue – Book Trailer