I just read the novel Room by Emma Donoghue, and I think it might be my favorite read of the year. The book is in no need of good reviews or good marketing, it's on the NYT bestseller list , but I was so rocked to the core. I just can't stop thinking about it.
The narrator is a five-year old boy who lives in an 11 x 11 room with his mother against their will. As a mother, I've become really sensitive to stories where children suffer, but I was just too intrigued. Not only are we confined to a room, we are seeing the story through a very young child's eyes, and I needed to see how this was handled structurally. What's so dazzling about this book is how such a severely limited world is rendered in such a rich and pure manner that the reader experiences it in much of the same way the narrator does. You're in, and there's simply nothing else to pay attention to.
This book though, to me, is ultimately about motherhood. The character of the mother has such amazing depth, all at once deeply human and otherworldly heroic. Forget about Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, THIS is extreme parenting. As a mother I could identify with the universal experience of being both wholly absorbed by mothering and at the same time "imprisoned" by what it takes to be there completely for your child. In some ways, we're all in that "room" with our babies for a little while.
I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll stop now. And for the men out there, this novel is in NO WAY a "baby" or "mothering" book. It's an incredibly poignant, suspenseful story that will blow anyone's mind.