This tug- at- your- heart, simple, powerful and highly engaging story written in a fresh and innovative style deserved being short listed, for the Man Booker 2010.
For Five year old Jack, the eleven – by eleven foot space is his world. Nothing else exists for him except his mom and the 'Room' which has bare minimum - a bed,a cupboard (inside which Jack sleeps to avoid meeting Old Nick, who is the only person visiting his Mom at night after 9:00 pm), a dining table, a TV, few racks, utensils and a TV. A small potted plant gives them company as the only other living being in their world. Although, there is an imaginary world which he can see and know about from the TV.
His mother is everything to him. They practically do everything together. Even the washing. He loves his mother. And can’t see her unhappy. Although he has never seen Old Nick, he instinctively knows that the man is not good either for his mother or him. But also understands that they must be good to him as he gets the things they need to live including the 'Sunday treats'.
But slowly, he understands that his mother is not disclosing him everything there is to know about the world. His curiosity grows by the day and he asks his mom some difficult questions. His mother, a twenty seven year old woman, who loves her son immensely and raising him in the best way possible, while living in captivity and isolation, understands that her son and she will not be able to survive for long if their situation is not changed. It is her love for her precious son that the wise and brave mother then decides to execute a dangerous plan that involves her five year old son to not only pretend he is dead but undergo several other kinds of physical and mental torture – the biggest of them all being – that there is a world other then the world he knows of and that he might have to leave his mother to find help for them to be free and in the process he might never be able to meet his mother again.
The plot becomes even more interesting when the plan is unfolded to the readers. One can experience all kinds of emotions while reading the story told in Jack’s poignant voice. The author has managed to make me feel as if I am really listening to a story narrated by a brave and wise - beyond - his- years, kid.
The only thing that distracted me in the book were the long detailed paragraphs mostly describing the room or a particular emotion/ action of the characters, where as I was impatient to get to the main story line. But the biggest thing the book did to me was- it made me realize as to how fortunate we are for living in a free world. Being imprisoned is like being dead or almost. Life in captivity is no life. And of course It also reminded me that – Love conquers all.