This book was a challenge, mostly because I had tried to read it before, and had to give up. The style of writing was too much to cope with when I was not focussed, but in July Steph said “We should all read Room”, so in September, we did!
Room – Emma Donoghue
On my second attempt, it took me about 30 pages to get used to the style, because it is written first person by a 5 year old boy named Jack. Jack and his Ma live in ‘Room’, and the reason for this is heartbreaking. Ma was kidnapped 7 years earlier and Jack was born in Room, this is a tough story, and it is no wonder that many people feel they cannot read it. I do not want to spoil the book, so I will just say this, while it is bad, it’s not as bad as your imagination.
All of the main characters in the book are well written, and I felt the desperation of Ma’s situation and Jack’s innocent acceptance of his world, so clearly. I thought the book was clever, and the mother’s love for her child, in spite of the circumstances of his conception and birth was just beautiful. There were things about this book that I did not like, I frequently got irritated by it, and at our book club meeting I ranted about so many little things, that the group were expecting a poor rating from me. I did not give the book a poor rating, I liked it, I liked it so much that I had a rant about all of the bits that had annoyed me, it was so near perfect, that I was angry that it wasn’t.
This story, based on the true story of Elisabeth Fritzl’s incarceration, at the hands of her father, is emotionally exhausting, you feel anger, empathy, fear, hatred, love, relief and many more emotions in between. I will leave it there and recommend it as a very good read, however I will say that the film just came out and I saw it this week, it left out the bits that irritated me, so on this occasion I think possibly the film is better than the book, and certainly equal to. As a group we rated Room with an average of 4.5* and this was also my rating.
Paradise News – David Lodge
I did not love this book, I did not even really like this book, but it did not offend me enough to give up on it. It was, for want of a better word… Meh! Few read this book (I think maybe only 3 of us), but none were particularly impressed, there are many storylines crossing over in the book, and many characters. I quite liked Bernard and loved his dying aunt Ursula, who was beautifully described, and a colourful character, but apart from these two, all of the other characters were ok, but I really didn’t care about them, or their holiday enough to enjoy this book. The only thing that I got from the book was that I never want to go to Hawaii, as it is plastic and touristy, and not at all the paradise I imagined. When I said this at the meeting, one of the members of the group (think it was Steph) wrote a note on her book that simply read “Go to the Maldives, NOT Hawaii” :-D. On average we gave the book a 3* rating, it’s the sort of book you pick up off the small bookshelf in a hotel in Turkey, when you have forgotten to bring enough books, and it does the job, but that’s about it.
Have fun reading!!