By Chet Yarbrough
Savor a fictional story that is as real as the sun. This audio is an excellent narration that enriches the power of Emma Donogheu’s story.
The beginning of the book places a listener in the mind of a five-year old (Jack) and his mother (Ma), observing a world that seems off-center, as surreal as a Salvador Dali’ painting.
As early chapters unfold, a listener is drawn into a labyrinth of a mother’s fear and loathing. The mother’s fear and loathing is contrasted with the joy and wonder of her young son. The listener is puzzled by how and why that contrast exists. As the cause of the difference in perception becomes clear, the listener begins to admire the strength and wisdom of Ma and the naiveté and precociousness of Jack.
Introduction of a boogie man called “mean old Nick” reminds the listener of the fairy tale boy named “Jack” that fears a terrifying giant at the top of a bean stock.
How important is a mother’s love to the development of a child? What Ma provides Jack is love that insures a security that allows him to become him self.
It is cliché but the frailty and resilience of life is the truth of “Room”. Life is never what is expected. Ma did not; could not prepare for what happened in her life but she exemplifies what every person hopes they can do when faced with the unexpected. Ma adapts to her circumstance; she becomes a part of something greater than herself to make the world in which she lives, a room, bearable–survivable.
To have opportunity in life, a person has to survive. In life there is opportunity, the world is wide and anything is possible; in death, the world is closed and nothing is everything.
Returning to a normal life after trauma, whether imprisonment, accident, or war is as harrowing as the trauma itself. Donogheu captures the difficulty of that return. She writes about the fragility that adults like Ma or a war veteran must feel when returning to the work day world. Donogheu shines a bright light on the importance of professional help in recovery.