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by Erin Maloney
Room is a fictional book written by Emma Donoghue that
details the life of a young boy named Jack living in a tool shed
with his mother, who he calls Ma. The book begins on the
morning of Jack’s fifth birthday, and we get to see how he lives
his routine life with Ma, who was kidnapped by a man they call
Old Nick seven years ago. Jack was born in the tool shed and
lived his entire life in there, so clearly his perception of the world
is different than that of a child who’s lived a regular life.
What make this book so brilliant is the amount of thought
that Emma Donoghue puts into the development of Jack. Jack is
curious and scared of the world outside of the shed. When he and
Ma escape, he asks questions just like any other child. However,
coming from a five year old, these questions make the reader
really ponder and question why things are the way they are. One
thing that really struck me is when Jack is living with his
grandparents for a short time, he notices how “Outside” has so
many things but nobody can remember their names, where they
come from, or what they’re for.
This book also addresses gender norms and how
unnecessary they are. At one point, Jack asks Ma why all the
boys have short hair and the girls have long hair. To him, there
are no rules to being a boy or a girl. Also, while shopping with his
aunt and uncle, Jack sees a Dora backpack and decides he wants
it. His uncle shoes him a toy that’s meant for boys and tries
telling Jack what he actually wants is that toy. But, as previously
stated, gender norms don’t exist to Jack and when he begins to
learn about them, he doesn’t understand why they exist.
Room is a book that is intriguing and insightful. When I read
it, I was amazed at how well written and thoughtful it was.
However, this article hardly does it justice and you need to read it