Personal Response to ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue 1/12/16

This was posted on Moodle on 1/12/16

Do I read for pleasure?  I used to, a lot. Nowadays, I find myself going through phases where I will read constantly, and it really is an all-consuming process that isn’t entirely conducive to everyday life, or not at all. It’s something I, like a high proportion of people, wish to engage more with but (lame excuse) don’t seem to find the time- perhaps a reshuffle of priorities is on the cards? I did, however, welcome the opportunity which the compulsory fiction that was ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue presented and hoped it would reignite yet another of my soon to be trademarked binge reads.

‘Room’ was an enjoyable, if somewhat conflicting read. It presented challenges- interpreting the complexities of Jack’s language for one, but being someone who enjoys rules and problem solving I found this more endearing than off-putting. It’s content and themes were also incredibly current and realistic, both of which are qualities I actively seek in literature. In terms of the controversial topic at play, I thought that it handled it incredibly well and was able to tackle rather sensitive issues head on by viewing them from an unassuming child’s point of view. This no-nonsense approach at subjects commonly censored, provided a very shocking look at issues such as ma’s depression, rape and suicide attempts, as well as more humorous looks at some of the absurdities of the modern world (the paparazzi-vulture comparison).

It was very interesting to look at the development of Jack’s linguistic abilities with the context of the work which we were doing in both ‘Literacy for Understanding’ and ‘Situated Communication’ modules. Understanding the reason he personified the items in Room, and the ways in which his language had developed differently to a child growing up in a ‘normal’ setting, really added a further dimension to the reading.

In terms of relating it to my own literacy, I do not think this has had a significant impact on my desire to read, which remains high, but maybe has added another genre to the stack of ‘still to read’ books piling up in my mind.  ‘My Abandonment’ by Peter Rock has still, however, entered below my desire to read some historical fiction spurred on by my four-month binge over the summer of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ and the reflection that a primary teacher should probably know at least a bit about history.

I would recommend Room to anyone with an interest in child development, anyone who has ever wanted to delve more into the Josep Fritzl case (from which, I believe, Emma Donoghue took inspiration) or just anyone who fancies a challenging and though-provoking read.

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