DEAR: Room, Emma Donoghue

Room, Emma Donoghue

When I was about 6 years old, every school day included a little chunk of time our teachers called D.E.A.R. Time: time to Drop Everything And Read. I loved it so much, everyone sitting at their little desks, silently engrossed in their tiny books. I’m sure this was a big part of what taught me to love reading so much, the simple pleasure of losing yourself in a story for an hour.* Even as a grown-up, there’s almost nothing I love more than becoming so absorbed in a book that it’s a slight shock when you realize where you really are.

Even through university, when I had over an hour’s travel time each way, I flew through books and read as much as I could. But now it’s a bit of a struggle, and I have to admit that I blame my crafty hobbies. I find that I watch so much more tv than I used to, mostly just to have something to keep my brain entertained while I knit or embroider or whatever else I’m up to. I always want to knit just that little bit more before bed, so I end up watching just that little bit more tv, which only means I read that little bit less.

An unwritten new year’s resolution was to make more time to read – i.e., re-institute D.E.A.R. Time. And I just the other day thought I could bring that into the blog too – sharing with you all a little bit of what I’ve been reading, and hopefully you’ll find something that sounds interesting. I won’t be reviewing books, that’s not something I know how to do or wish to do, but I’ll tell you something about it. Thoughts, a related story, my general opinion, or whatever I was thinking while reading it.

Over the weekend, I finished Room, Emma Donoghue’s Booker Prize-shortlisted and critically acclaimed novel about 5-year-old Jack, a little boy living in just one room with his mother. I wouldn’t want to give any of the plot away, so I won’t say any more than that, except that the story is both exactly what I expected and a complete surprise. In the end, I guess this is a story about the extreme conditions, both good and bad, that people can live in and survive, the human need for safety, and what it even means to feel safe.

I’ve never read anything by Emma Donoghue before (though, from what I’ve read about her since finishing Room, this seems to be a very different novel from what she usually writes), but although it is quite beautifully written, I was mostly impressed with the level at which she thought these characters and their situation through. The detail is astounding, I was amazed – and horrified – by the sheer volume of things mentioned in this book that had never once occurred to me. I’m sure this is a very odd post to read for anyone who hasn’t yet read the book because, again, I don’t want to give anything away – but I hope it will have at least intrigued you enough to check it out for yourself!

Next up, something completely different (and much less secretive) that I’m off to read under a quilt right now. I’ve been looking forward to stealing a little bit of DEAR Time all day!

* To be honest, it might’ve been once a week, I can’t remember for sure. But it was definitely more than now, which appears to be just one day of the year. I’m not at all against tv, or videogames, or any of that stuff (I love them too, for different reasons), but it seems like kids should be encouraged to read more often than once a year, doesn’t it?

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