Friday, 20 May 2011

"Room"(novel) & puppy update

Otto is nearly six months old. His behaviour has much improved, though he's still over-enthusiastic about other dogs and people. I read in the handbooks that he is approaching the dog teenage years and hence stroppiness. We shall see. Now he's allowed out of the kitchen (supervised!) he spends a lot of time sleeping on my toes when I'm at the computer or watching TV, and I'm rather enjoying this cosy sensation.

Recent reading
There's been much publicity for Emma Donohue's Room, shortlisted for the Booker and the Orange, recommended by the TV Book Club, highly praised by both serious and popular critics, bloggers too.  However, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it as I knew it was inspired by events like the Friztl case, where a young woman was imprisoned in a cellar for years.  In this novel the narrator Jack, aged just 5, lives in a locked room 11x11 with his adored mother and is accustomed to his strange narrow life as he knows no other.  When Old Nick, who he's never met, comes to the room most nights Jack goes to bed in Wardrobe and shuts the door. 
The scenario is brilliantly imagined, even more so is the child's reaction to the outside world, when they reach it.  Though I personally found Jack's voice irritating, distracting and inconsistent - especially to start with, as his vocabulary veers between that of a two-year-old and an articulate adult - I became accustomed to it and didn't want to put the book down. Telling it from a child's point of view softens - some might say sanitises - the harsh story and makes it almost palatable, but I didn't find it an enjoyable read. Original, very clever, well researched, yes.  Enjoyable no, but then how could it be, dealing with such a difficult subject.

Here is what Emma Donohue says about Jack's language and here's an Observer review.

5 comments:

montyandrosie said...

It's always a delight to hear about Otto, and to see recent pics. Fab dog! And I love the way you've absorbed him into your life so completely. Some people seem to think they can add on a dog like another ornament for the mantelpiece.

Karen said...

I wasn't sure about the language either at first, but soon couldn't put the book down. Clever and disturbing.

Otto's so glossy. Molly's still over-enthusiastic about other dogs, and she's 8 now!

suzy doodling said...

Hi Susie, great picture. Must be lovely having Otto sleeping on your feet. Handy when it's cold. I don't think I could handle a book like that. Too disturbing for me.

Debs Carr said...

I also wasnt sure about this book, but Cesca Martin reviewed it for Novelicious and enjoyed it too.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

I picked this up while in the Uk last week as everyone keeps recommending it, so was interested to read your thoughts.