Senior Book Discussion: Room
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Here come the debating points that are embedded in Ms. Donoghue's story. Was the world inside Room somehow safer than the world outside? Will it be damaging for Jack to have to share his mother with new people in her life—or with the people she left behind? Will Ma still be content to do nothing but interact with her frisky son? Is it harder to choose freely from a whole bowl of lollipops than to have no choice at all? Room is sophisticated in outlook and execution, but it's not too complicated to use actual lollipops to frame that theoretical question. Fortunately Ms. Donoghue makes both Ma and Jack too unpredictable for any of those answers to be easy. - Janet Maslin - New York Times
Jack's voice is one of the pure triumphs of the novel: in him, [Donoghue] has invented a child narrator who is one of the most engaging in years—his voice so pervasive I could hear him chatting away during the day when I wasn't reading the book. Donoghue rearranges language to evoke the sweetness of a child's learning without making him coy or overly darling… Through dialogue and smartly crafted hints of eavesdropping, Donoghue fills us in a on Jack's world without heavy hands or clunky exposition…a truly memorable novel…It presents an utterly unique way to talk about love, all the while giving us a fresh, expansive eye on the world in which we live. - Aimee Bender - New York Times Book Review
One of the most affecting and subtly profound novels of the year.... Not too cute, not too weirdly precocious, not a fey mouthpiece for the author's profundities, Jack expresses a poignant mixture of wisdom, love and naivete that will make you ache to save him—whatever that would mean: Delivering him to the outside world? Keeping him preserved here forever?…until you finish it, beware talking about Room with anyone who might clumsily strip away the suspense that's woven through its raw wonder. You need to enter this small, harrowing place prepared only to have your own world expanded.- Ron Charles - Washington Post
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This fascinating book by Emma Donoghue was met with mixed reactions. Given the controversial and gut-wrenching topic, this was no surprise. It did, however, lead to a lively discussion.
What we are reading this month
About the Author
• Birth - October 24, 1969
• Where - Dublin, Ireland, UK
• Education - B.A., University College Dublin; Ph.D., University of Cambridge
•Currently - lives in London, Ontario, Canada
Emma Donoghue is an Irish writer who lives in Canada. She has published six books of fiction, two works of literary history, two anthologies, and two plays.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, on 24 October 1969, Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours B.A. in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a Ph.D. (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. Since the age of 23, Donoghue has earned her living as a full-time writer. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario, where she lives with her lover and their son.
Haverstraw King's Daughters Public Library
10 West Ramapo Rd 85 Main St
Garnerville, NY 10923 Haverstraw, NY 10927
(845) 786-3800 (845) 429-3445
1. Why do you think the entire book is told in Jack’s voice? Do you think it is effective?
2. What are some of the ways in which Jack’s development has been stunted by growing up in Room? How has he benefited?
3. If you were Ma, what would you miss most about the outside world?
4. What would you do differently if you were Jack’s parent? Would you tell Jack about the outside world from the start?
5. If Ma had never given birth to Jack, what would her situation in Room be like?
6. What would you ask for, for Sundaytreat, if you were Jack? If you were Ma?
7. Describe the dynamic between Old Nick and Ma. Why does the author choose not to tell us Old Nick’s story?
8. What does joining the outside world do to Jack? To Ma?
9. What role do you think the media play in the novel?
10. In a similar situation, how would you teach a child the difference between the real world and what they watch on television?
11. Why are we so fascinated by stories of long-term confinement?
12. What were you most affected by in the novel? (Questions issued by publisher.)
Book Discussions at HKDPL
We have two book discussions that meet on the 4th Thursday of each month:
Seniors 1:30 pm
Evening 7:00 pm
For more information, please contact us at (845)786-3800 x18