I’ve been freaking out a little bit lately because the latest book we read for my book club was Emma Donoghue’s Room. If you haven’t heard of this book, it’s really disturbing and simultaneously incredible. It gave me minor anxiety throughout the entire read, but I walked away satisfied and happy with my decision to stick with it.
It’s told from the perspective of a five-year-old which, woah—super innovative, Emma! I LOVE that! I absolutely love when an author does something weird and unique. I recently wrote a short piece using nothing except for dialogue. I wanted to do something different and challenge myself, see if I could create a scene with only characters talking. Would readers get lost? Was it going to be simplistic and limited? It was fun, and I’m very interested in experimenting with my writing. When I see another author doing that, I’m immediately impressed before I even open the book.
So needless to say, Emma had my attention.
Obviously she had to make this particular five-year-old pretty educated and articulate because, let’s be honest, if we were reading the thoughts and conversations of a typical American five year old, I don’t think anyone would make it through a chapter. I don’t even want to imagine that kind of book. It was about a young woman kidnapped for approximately ten years raising the child of her rapist.
Yep. If you haven’t had a chance to go online/open a newspaper/turn on the television and for some reason this blog post is your first introduction into reality in the past week, then the story I finished reading three weeks ago—the one chosen anonymously by 30+ women who voted via email—sounds A LOT like the situation on the news with Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. FREAKING THE HELL OUT OVER HERE.
I had some theories about the book that it seemed other people didn’t consider, which was fun to discuss. Everyone and their mother thinks it’s weird that he’s still breastfeeding in the book at five. It isn’t necessarily conventional, and it’s weird to hear a thought process about breastfeeding to be perfectly honest because you don’t normally think of which breast the child prefers and for what reasons. But honestly people need to get over this obsession with hating natural processes. Having your period is GROSS, breastfeeding a baby is INAPPROPRIATE. No. No, it isn’t. Stop hating on humans being natural and instinctual. My thought on the situation was that maybe he was addicted to her breast milk. She was taking heavy drugs to numb the pain she was going through since almost all of her teeth were rotting and falling out, and that can transfer through milk. And he would become anxious if he wasn’t able to have some—it calmed him and helped him feel connected to his mother. I think that was definitely possible.
I also discussed with some girls the torment. Her teeth were rotting for a reason—she probably wanted to make herself as unattractive as possible. Maybe then he would lose interest. Don’t brush your hair, bother getting dressed, make an effort AT ALL. Until she had Jack, there was no point to try because living and dying were the same thing to her in a way. Then she had a reason to live and try a little harder.
I also thought that Old Nick might have had some feelings for the mother and that maybe it wasn’t a spontaneous kidnapping. He had shrubs to hide entrances to the shed, everything was soundproofed and unbreakable, and there was a FENCE underneath the shed so she couldn’t even tunnel out. That isn’t a “whoops, made a mistake and now I’ve learned from it” sort of scenario. This guy had a plan and had maybe chosen her before she ever could have realized. Which brings me to think that maybe he cared for her and some twisted part of him thought maybe she would care for him, too. He captured her, but he was going to take care of her. Give her television, give her heat in the winter, whatever foods she wanted, let her have a baby. Maybe she would see the good and find feelings. That was one interpretation that I took from it, because he never seemed very violent. And even when she tried to kill him and escape, he never retaliated.
I’m so interested in hearing what these women have to share, of course at their own pace with no rushing needed and which I desperately hope doesn’t happen to them. They need their space and time to get through this and deal with the fact that ten years happened and they missed it. The mother in the book wasn’t given that by the media, which is very realistic. This book was amazing, eye-opening, and heart-wrenching. Overall a great read and I’m happy to have found it.