Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

“Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.”

Hearing a child speak sounds good to hear. It’s because they see the world as pure and simple, even if it is already hostile from the beginning. That’s how five-year old Jack came to know Room, which ironically was a prison for his Ma. 

Ever since he was born, Jack’s very world is the Room. His friends are Meltedy Spoon, Bed, Duvet, and Wardrobe. Skylight gives him a glimpse of the sky and God’s face (which is the sun and the moon). TV is his only window to the Outside. Besides all these, he has his Ma with whom he shares his love and companionship. 

Because Jack was raised in love and joy, he did not see the horror behind his existence. As soon as he was learning the truth behind his Ma’s story and why mean Old Nick would keep them from Outside, he would not believe it at first. 

This book actually tackles the dire topic of abduction, rape, and slavery, along with recovery and treatment. Bringing it to the voice of an adult would be depressing. But writer Emma Donoghue excellently brought it to light through the voice of a five-year old. The story is very linear yet it is very engaging because one would anticipate what Jack would think and experience on the moment they made their Great Escape. It does not matter if Jack himself may be grammatically incorrect for schooled adults but he was able to communicate the joy, the pain, and the struggles he went through as he finally touches Outside.

I must admit I was captivated by this book. Even as it ends, I want Jack to talk more. I felt attached to Jack while I listened to him recount a story that is riveting and touching as well.

Dare to enter Room. Once you do, you don’t want to get out of it until the last page.

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