Today’s topic is, “most underrated book.” This is not an easy topic because I usually choose my reading list according to the classics, best sellers, or recommendation. So, under-what?…
Well, after much thought, I’ve settled on what book to share about today. The book I perceive to be most underrated is Emma Donoghue’s Room. I chose this mostly because – I don’t remember much publicity about how good it is – nor much about it in general. Hence, I thought this insightful literary piece deserves a bit more recognition.
(Image Source: Hot Key Blog)
Emma Donoghue’s Room is a story about Jack, a five-year old boy, who has lived in one room his whole life – Room. But the thing is, Room is where his Ma has been held captive since she was kidnapped by Old Nick seven years ago. Two years into her abduction, Ma gave birth to a son (Jack) and she has tried to make life as normal as possible in 12 square foot Room. Sinister and convoluted, much?
To make things even more interesting, this story was narrated entirely from Jack’s perspective. Emma Donoghue has surprisingly managed to capture a child’s voice realistically without being overly simple or too calculated. And, given the limited narrative scope, this story has a remarkable depth that makes us sympathetic to Jack. Imagine. He perceives Room as his entire universe, that there is nothing beyond these four walls, and that Old Nick is “God”. All the objects in Room are addressed with proper nouns and genders, like Floor and Bed and Duvet and Wardrobe. Ridiculous but it makes sense because to Jack they are unique items that only exist in Room. I heard about the Stockholm Syndrome but I’ve never thought about it this deeply until I read this book.
I found a doodle of how Room would have been like and its official interactive model over here.
(Image Source: Ethel Chow)
Fortunately, Ma knows that Room is not going to be enough for Jack and has thus started planning an escape. And, they were successful! Or, are they?… When Jack finally experienced the real world, he pleaded to go back to Room because the world is too strange and confusing for him. Who would have thought and considered that? We always thought its better because the child is now safe but have we really stopped to think how “freedom” affects the child involved? The cool thing was how Donoghue demonstrated the malleability of Jack’s mind – how he filtered and interpreted new things according to information he already know. This gave us insight on how Jack (who has never seen the beyond Room) absorb and adopt new information. Indeed, his sweet innocent voice made the staggeringly sad reality – about freedom, existentialism and capture-bonding – an even more bitter to swallow.
Being a huge fan of Criminal Minds and other crime/psychotic shows, I have a certain interest for the Stockholm Syndrome and how it occurs. By the end of this book, I had become so attached to Jack and Ma that I wanted to protect them and see if Jack turns out ok. So, yes, I think Room is the most underrated book. Do give it a chance and have a read. Then, tell me what you think.