Hello, Bookies: We’re always so grateful when authors choose to participate in our post-discussion Q&As, since we know they have to fit us into very busy schedules. So an extra note of thanks to Emma Donoghue, who took time out of her weekend in order to get her answers back to us quickly. Read on for what she had to […]
more about: Room
Before we get into the discussion, I have great news: the author of Room, Emma Donoghue, has agreed to answer all our questions about the book. So if there’s something you’d like to ask her, please include it in the comments field below by Monday, March 28. Now, on to the finale…
I’m so happy many of you are enjoying this book as much as I am. I have to confess…I couldn’t stop reading, too. It was nearly impossible to walk away not knowing what happens to Ma. I had a feeling she was going to make it. The chapter title “Alive” kind of gave it away, though it could have been interpreted in many ways. Nicole commented last week that she was surprise Ma overdosed now that her and Jack were finally in the Outside, but it seems that the Outside was just too much for her to bear. Especially in this age of a 24/7 news cycle, where real people who go through unbelievable experiences are also becoming celebrities. What’s ironic is that she was so concerned in the beginning about Jack’s transition, when it was actually her transition that was even harder to handle.
Jack, meanwhile, has become quite the little philosopher. I think he makes an interesting point in this chapter: “In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time. Even Grandma often says that, but she and Steppa don’t have jobs, so I don’t know how persons with jobs do the jobs and all the living as well. In Room me and Ma had time for everything.” The part about Grandma not having a job and being stressed about time made me smile, but I think it’s a nice sentiment about simplifying life to make time for what counts. Obviously, we don’t want to live in a Room to have quality time with our family, but a day without obligations might be a nice tradition to start. What do you think?
In the end, Ma comes back to take care of Jack. She is ready to move on; he is still clinging to the past (and specifically that Rug). How did you feel when he wanted to go back to the Room. It made me anxious and nervous, but I understood his need for explanation/closure. I was impressed Ma could even step one foot near that place. And then in the end, they said good-bye. What did you think of the ending? The whole book? Please share all your thoughts, ideas, rants, raves, and questions for Emma Donoghue below. It’s been a pleasure reading with you!
Thank you for your insightful comments last week. I really appreciated the points about the inconsistencies in the book regarding Jack. Rachel said: “It is strange to me how smart Jack is, but he is still so juvenile, innocent, and childish at the same time.” Amy notes: “I also question how realistic it is that Jack would just accept that certain things were just TV and the things in Room are real.” Jack’s development–both the advancements and delays–were so interesting and surprising at times. It makes for such an interesting study, especially when you realize that this is not a complete fantasy (i.e. Jaycee Duggard, as Bella pointed out). I also think it’s such a page turner, that the plot ends up whisking you quickly away to the next stage in their lives. Especially, as Nicole writes, “As I was reading I kept thinking to myself, “what is she going to do if they are still in Room in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?” I think that point alone is what kept me reading and reading…I wanted to know what was going to happen to them. And then, in Dying, we find out.
This book blew me away from the start. Admittedly, I was intrigued by the fact that it was narrated by a five-year-old (would the heft of the story come through? would it just seem flippant or childish?), but in my opinion, Emma Donoghue nailed it. Jack was completely authentic and the language was well-crafted–telling the story from his perspective was so powerful in its simplicity. His world was Room–he had nothing to compare anything else to–and the purity of this point of view shone through. I can’t imagine it being told any other way. What do you think? Do you like Jack as the narrator?
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Hi, Bookies: It was a tight race, but Emma Donoghue’s Room: A Novel maintained its slight lead over The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to win the poll. RealSimple.com Managing Editor Kathleen Harris, our March discussion leader, will be back later this week to say hello, so look for that and for Maggie Shi’s final post on Half Broke Horses. […]