I am prepared to be the only person who doesn't like Emma Donoghue's book Room. When it first came out, I said, "Hmm. A woman held for years as a sexual captive, along with the child who is a result of this captivity. And the book is narrated by the 5 year old child. No thank you."
But then I read rapturous reviews. And I heard Donoghue interviewed by Diane Rehm. And I heard more and more people who loved the book. So, I added it to my 2011 list of books to be read.
I've only read half of it. Maybe it will get better.
Don't get me wrong: I do admire what Donoghue has done. By using the 5 year old as narrator, she avoids the trap waiting for writers who write about horrid crimes: the readers turn into voyeurs. And she seems to capture the voice and the mind of a 5 year old.
But it's not a voice I want to spend hundreds of pages with. What's charming for 20 pages quickly turns exhausting.
I wondered if Donoghue intentionally spent so many pages in the world of the garden shed turned jail. Once again, at first I found it a charming place, full of imagination, even as I was realizing how reduced its horizons were. As I read the first half of the book, I started to scan it; I only need so many examples of how the mother and child have turned trash and tidbits into toys and imaginary companions.
I'll finish the book, since it's a quick read. But I must admit that if I had picked up this book without the benefit of any reviews or interviews, I wouldn't have continued reading.
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