Sunday, September 26, 2010


I have been seeing more and more attention given to ROOM , by Emma Donoghue, in blogs, book reviews and newspapers recently. Have you? All have given it a completely amazing review and commented on the absolutely horrible situation Ma finds herself in with her son Jack. Most reviews comment on the dark plot, sadistic character of Old Nick, and disturbing topics. And while it is no doubt depressing, I was also completely amazed and in awe of Ma.

So often these days we think we can't live without FB, smart phones, cable TV, internet, fast food, modern appliances – even something as simple as a washer and dryer. Our children scour thru catalogues months in advance of the winter holidays making up wish lists to pass out to relatives. We study history in school and always think, it may be fun to live in colonial days for a day or two, but wow I'm glad I didn't have to on a regular basis. Because it all looks hard and boring.

And so often we all have our rough days. Whether it is because our child is whining all day and Just.Won't.Listen. Or because our car breaks down 5 miles from home with cold groceries in the trunk. Or because our partner has to go away for a week and we have to single parent. Simply put, we all have our days where we truly wish everything would just go away.

But what if it did? What if you really, truly had no choice? What if you lived in a 12x12 shed with very few belongings and an infant that grows to be a 5 year old? How would you pass the time? How would you entertain, teach, and nurture your child? How would you protect your child from the person who supplies you food, electricity and clothing – the provider and also the scariest person in the world to you? How would you keep yourself sane enough to be able to show your child joy in things?

What I found absolutely incredible about this most tragic situation Ma is in is that somehow she pulls together the strength to mother Jack. She gives him the love he needs and the other basics of life he needs. But on top of that she thinks creatively to give him a basic education in not just academics, but also character development. Jack is happy, and it's because of her. I'd like to think if I were in her shoes I would do the same. I'd like to think the maternal instincts of mothering would completely kick in no matter what the situation. But I just don't know. I sure do hope I'll never have to find out.

I also think Ma should win Mother of the Year award. And I also think my rough days really aren't that rough.

I received a free copy of ROOM, and with no obligation to review, as part of the From Left To Write book club. To read other posts inspired by this book, check out book clubs website, From Left to Write.


Linsey K said...

Absolutely agree. I was in awe of Ma in this book - through this incredibly oppressive situation, she pulls herself together and not only provides the basics (of which she has little of), but also actually RAISES this child with love and respect and intelligence. Simply amazing. And, yes, she beats herself up later when she finds out things ("If only I had known...") - don't we all do that as mothers? We learn something after the fact that would have helped our child even more, when we were doing our absolute best in the first place.

Great read.


The take away message from this book for me was to appreciate my freedom, all day, everyday.

Wantapeanut said...

And she was only 19 when she was taken! At one point she says "I had no clue..." When my first was born, I felt that way, but at least I had access to doctors, friends, my mom, etc. I can't imagine all she did with access to no one.

Jacki said...

I second your nomination. Ma was so incredible. I don't know if I would have thought of all those Phys Ed activities.


To face challenges, and still find the strength to be there for your child...that is definitely the mark of a great mother. I was taken by the hope that radiated from the boy...and all because of his mother!