Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
My take: This is one of those books that stays with you for days. The story is told in first person, by Jack. Jack uses 5 year old sentence structure and comprehends life as a 5 year old boy would. His character asks logical 5 year old questions that imitate 5 year old emotional complexity. The author does an amazing job in creating Jack.
Jack knows only what exists in his 121 ft. life. Nothing else is real. Although there is T.V., the images are not tangible, therefore, they don't exist outside the box. It is a story of a committed mother, and endearing 5 year old boy, coping, transitioning, survival, and, above all, a mother's love and a little boy's growth.
4 and half stars.
Audio book: It takes more than just the book and the author to record an audiobook, and this month, we have Michele McGonigle, Associate Director of Production for Hachette Audio and Director of ROOM, the audiobook, to answer some behind-the-scenes questions:
Hachette Book Group: What made you decide to do a multiple-cast recording for ROOM?
Michelle McGonigle: When I read the book to cast and prep for production, it just screamed out for more than one narrator. Jack needed his own voice and so did Ma; to have one person read all parts would detract from the listener experience and not do the book justice. The impact of hearing Jack's voice, (read by Michal Friedman, an adult woman), as he tells his story, really places the listener in his world. Ellen Archer reads Ma and you can hear the restraint, joy, pain, frustration and fear in her
voice, giving the listener a bit of insider information of what's going on. Jack is experiencing the same actions, words and emotions, however being a five year old, he doesn't understand what to make of or what is driving them. In a way, giving Ma her own voice allows her to tell part of her story as well.
HBG: What kinds of voices were you looking for in casting and what do you think each voice-recording artist brings to ROOM, the audiobook?
MM: Jack had to have a strong presence, be sweet, innocent, and believable; Michal Friedman delivers his words with the incorruptibility and honesty of a true five year old.
In the case of Ma, I was looking for a soft, patient, loving voice, struggling with staying calm and trying to prevent Jack from hearing/ feeling her fear and frustration; Ellen Archer was my immediate choice, being a real mother who reflects these same qualities.
For all other female roles I needed a voice that could make Jack's grandma stand out just a bit more than the others, but not to overshadow Jack and Ma. Suzanne Toren was perfect for this, she allowed her characters to be a part of the story without overtaking it.
As for the male voices, Robert Petkoff was the first person I thought of. He is capable of such different character voices and delivers a supporting performance which allows Ma and Jack to be the focus of this amazing journey.
Thanks to Anna at Hatchette Book Groups, I have 2 audio books up for grabs.
U.S. and Canada only
No P.O. boxes, please
One copy per householdEnds Halloween
Feel free to leave a comment.
I feel validated when you do.
Include email address.
Let me know if you are a follower of any type. Gives you extra entries, of course.