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The Incredibly Deadly Viper

I make embarrassing videos about books and put them on the Internet. I'm twenty-one years old which means I can legally tell you how much I love beer also I am literate somehow.

Currently reading

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #2)
Ann Brashares
The Rules of Attraction
Bret Easton Ellis

Room: A Novel

Room: A Novel - I happened to pick this book up at my local library over the winter holidays, and I did not finish it before school started again, so I brought it back with me. I was going to be able to renew it online so that wouldn’t be a problem, except what ended up happening was that I waited one day too long to renew, accruing about a dollar in fines for all the books I’d checked out. No big deal, but that dollar pushed me over the maximum amount of money one could owe in fines and still be able to renew books online. Oops. So I ended up having to give the book to my mom to take home and return when she visited that weekend with a hundred or so pages left for me to read. Moral of the story is, RENEW THINGS ON TIME.I’ll try to keep this brief and wrought with spoilers. Room is about a young boy called Jack who lives in “Room” which is essentially a shed in the backyard of some creepy, upsetting man whom he calls Old Nick who kidnapped his mom several years before this story takes place. I’m sure you know exactly where this is going. Old Nick keeps Jack’s mom in his shed and also is Jack’s biological father, but mostly the story is about how Jack and Ma build a life in this Room. His mother has to keep him extremely uninformed about the outside world. When I explained the plot to my boyfriend, he insisted that it was going to be a take on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and that one character was going to kill another when they got out (Spoiler: This doesn’t happen, although I’m sure you’ve guessed.)First of all, I must applaud Emma Donoghue for such a difficult undertaking. As an adult, it’s one thing to write from a child’s perspective and do it well let alone write from the perspective of a child who is psychologically damaged. A lot of people say to “write what you know” and assuming Donoghue (hopefully) did not have the same traumatizing experience as Jack, I think she did a wonderful job in putting herself in the difficult place to write in his voice.As much of a difficult undertaking as this was, I found Jack infuriating. Fortunately, I think that is exactly what the intended reaction was. As someone with very little patience for people who do not understand things or catch on quickly, Jack is irritating, and I found myself sympathizing with the easily frustrated Ma for most of the book. One thing I do find interesting is that Jack and Ma are the only characters who are really truly developed which I think adds to the sense of isolation we get from both of them. Also, despite being very good about Jack without fail (which I think to be somewhat unrealistic), I found myself very attached to the character of Steppa, I think mostly because as Ma’s stepfather who only relatively recently married her mother, he wasn’t around for a lot of the trauma of losing her to kidnapping in the first place and thus can kind of detach himself from the situation and serve as a foil to Ma’s mother. I like that a lot because it gives a little more dimension to the cast of characters.I thought the pacing was excellent. I liked that the thrilling climax was in the middle of the book as opposed to the end because it is very unusual and because this allows for so much more character development once Jack and Ma are “Outside”. Room was really more of a character portrait than anything else and I was thoroughly impressed.I also know it is supposed to be very psychologically disturbing at times, and I know this is probably very insensitive of me and honestly has nothing to do with the novel at all, but the fact that Jack breastfeeds for five years of his life makes me really uncomfortable. This is just a side note from me.The writing itself was nothing revolutionary, but like I said, it was a character portrait. The writing wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it was quite good, but the quality was not what stood out. As mentioned before, it is incredibly difficult to write from the perspective of a child, and the narration (which is first person from Jack’s point of view) was believable, which I think is the most important element here.Although I did not get to the last 100 pages of the novel for about 2 months, I was satisfied with the ending. It was the type of ending that leaves you feeling a little twinge of sadness just because the novel itself was so emotionally draining and drastic.AS OF 3/14/12:I have about 100 pages left of this book. I took it away to school with me and then realized that I am in so much debt to the library that I can no longer renew books. So I couldn't renew it online, resulting in me owing more money. So I had to send it back to the library. Point is, I've stopped with 100 pages left but this was not done purposefully. I will see if I can pick it up this week (once I pay my fines, of course) and finish it up.