I refused to read The Lovely Bones for months because what mother of a 14-year old mother wants to read a book about the rape and murder of a 14-year old. Then I read it, and I loved it. And why would I want today to read a book about a kidnapped college student, and held captive for years by a brutal man, together with the young son he fathered during her long captivity? This is Room‘s dark premise and the story, narrated in a matter-of-fact way by the son, who is five, is breathtaking, and liable to keep you up until 1am like me so you can finish it in one go. You have been warned.
I must admit that it took me a while to get into the story because I just could not accept that such a well-spoken boy would still be misconjugating preterite verbs at that age, but past that I was in the room with him and his clever mom who fashions games and learning activities from the very meager universe they are in. I don’t think I am over-exposing the plot by revealing that they do get out and the story after freedom may be even more interesting, as the boy whose entire life has been so tragically constrained struggles to adapt to too many choices and options. That’s a real five-year old. In the end, it does better with freedom than his mom, with the help of a delightful step-grandfather who just accepts him as he is. A great story!