It's 55 degrees out, blue skies, warm air, cool shadows, water trickling in the backyard, and I've been weeding; pulling up hundreds of miniature maple trees which have been taking full advantage of the dark mulch put down in October. I felt very much like a giant searching for small folk among the trees. All I found was one very healthy, very long earthworm. Pretty thing, for a worm.
I read this book yesterday, Room, by Emma Donoghue. I'm not sure if I liked it or not as it's a book that kind of creeped me out. No, I liked it, a lot, I don't know if I enjoyed it.
Jack, who just turned five today, is the narrator of this story. Room is his entire world, 12 feet by 12 feet. It has Bed, Trash, Bath, Ma, and his best friend, Dora, who is on a planet in TV. The only other living being in Room, besides Jack's Ma, is Plant, situated under Skylight where God's yellow face shines in.
Jack reminds me of Opal Whiteley: he has an amazing vocabulary for being only five and is able to connect thoughts and ideas that should be way over his head. He lives with his mother in a single room so everything he knows and extrapolates is related to the things in this view. All languages that aren't English are Spanish; all people except for him, Ma, and Old Nick are on other planets that he can see for one hour a day on TV; he sends letters to Dora the Explorer by writing letters on toilet paper and flushing it down the toilet.
I became completely caught up in Jack's life, watching what is going on through his eyes, waiting for a shoe to drop. There were references to things Jack doesn't explain because he doesn't know there is anyone watching. So when he goes to Wardrobe to sleep because Old Nick is coming, my heartbeat started to speed up. When he counts the movements in the bed, 217 creaks before they stop, I held my breath.
Over time, you realize that he has never been outside Door. Jack thinks that Door might just make Old Nick up when it beep beeps and opens, inventing him on the spot, non-existent except for when he is on the in-side of Door. You realize that Ma has been in Room for a very long time, long enough to have had a baby grow up into a five year-old boy. As of Jack's birthday, Ma has been in Room for 7 years.
Kidnapped at age 19, locked in this room for 7 years, Ma raises and loves this little boy with all her heart and soul. Jack is truly her reason for being. And she is finally at the end of her ability to endure this situation.
The book's got a great cover and the story inside held me tight until the end.
(The publisher is Little Brown. I just realized it won't be published until September 2010. Wow. That's a long time. Well, it's definitely worth putting on a list to pick up in the fall. Definitely for grown-ups. I am reading an advance reading copy and there is no price listed. Yet.)