We think you’ll find Room both a delight and a challenge. Emma Donoghue’s clever narration has won the hearts of readers worldwide as a bestselling novel. Jack’s wonder and playfulness dilutes the confinement, and yet Donoghue does not shy away from realities of a life entrapped. Through her story of a mother and son, we are given a glimpse into the torturous conditions of life in solitary confinement, and the destruction it can wreck upon those within a tiny cell.
This month, explore the novel Room with guest author Corey Redekop, and read beyond the book to learn more about the impact of solitary confinement, and why it is considered a form of torture. Furthermore, you will find an action on page 10 of our Amnesty International Book Club discussion guide to help support Mohammad Ali Taheri, who is a prisoner of conscience in Iran and has remained in solitary confinement for over five years.
Room, from any angle, shouldn’t work as well as it does. Its narrative is laden with monstrous themes of sexual assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement, psychological torture, and others. It’s told from a point of view of Jack, a precocious and uncomprehending child. Half of its length is located within a suffocating nightmare.
By almost any metric, Emma Donoghue’s tale should be a well-nigh excruciating descent into a hellscape of voyeuristic despair, the stuff of lurid melodrama and mawkish Lifetime made-for-television movies.
Suffice to say, I approached my initial reading of it with a fair amount of dread, and I don’t mean to offer a backhanded compliment when I say I was utterly relieved I didn’t want to slash my wrists immediately after the last page. Room is a harrowing journey, oh yes, and terrifying, and claustrophobic, and soul-wrenching. This is as it should be. Room is also (let me find my other list) brave, funny, intelligent, rational, and triumphant …
~ Corey Redekop,
Read more of Corey’s thoughts on Room, as well as his discussion questions, in the guide.