"i kiss her face where the tears are, that's how the sea tastes."

picture of me with the book 'room' inside a room
excuse the room hair

another book post that seems like it should appropriately contain the sentence 'i really like this book' (and best way to do it perhaps, is by kickstarting the post itself with the sentence)

recently i read a lot of books that i think are 'nice', this word i am using now is in the context devoid of short prate, or as jack pointed out later, nice as in 'real nice' and not part of 'manners'. i mean the word 'nice' in its whole sense because of a lot of things.

lately i think i like these books in very different ways--i like franzen's freedom immensely because i think it is very real, it reflects a dangerous possibility, whereas i like emma donoghue's room because it is offering a slice of what 'could happen', or a slight possibility that could happen to other people, near zero chance of happening to me just like death always approaches other people first before people you know and finally yourself. room to me is eye-opening because i have not had such experience and might not be able to have it, ever, for the good of me hopefully, whereas for freedom i think the possibility is rocketing to almost a 50:50 ratio (scary, dangerous, fingers crossed)

a flux of praises stream down the first few pages of this book and to my tad remorse room has to be compared with the lovely bones which i do not really enjoy

i think putting it side by side with 'the curious incident of the dog in the night-time' would be more sensical, although the basic premise and everything else differ, but the filters used to percolate the narratives feel somewhat similar, and so do the excellencies as final results. the curious is narrated by christopher, a 15yo genius with asperger's, while room is narrated by jack, who although does not possess any autism syndrome, is always 'inside' he has become an 'outsider' to the 'outside world', and hence, is different

room is about a mother and a 5yo son named jack, living in a confined space called Room with capital 'R' for five years. in Room they seem to have everything, room is the world to both of them. at night Jack will be put inside Wardrobe and 'old nick' will come into Room and bring in their needs from Outside. for sunday jack will have special sundaytreat that is any source of amusement he wishes to have. when waking up jack will 'have some' ie he will be breastfed by his mother. in the daylight jack and his Ma will eat and play games and learn. the games he is playing with his mom are very 'stimulating', especially considering the limitations of their situation. for example 'parrot' in which jack will be parroting news anchor or anyone on TV, repeating their speech word by word and afterward will question words that he does not know. after eating jack thanks baby jesus and to him the faces of the sun and the moon are the face of God, which infiltrates through the clear skylight installed in the 11 by 11 Room. to Jack, everything in the Room is real, and everything else he watches in TV is TV (the opposite of real), even the other human beings. he sometimes thinks old nick is part real and part TV.

the history of their existence in Room will unravel when almost reaching the half part of the book, watching it was a great thrill

from this part this post will reek of spoilers so stay away if you do not wish to read them (thank you for coming this far)

welcome to the rest/'survivors' (lol)

room starts at the right time familiarizing its readers with jack's world before he familiarizes himself with ours. afterward i feel like i could relate to jack's disorientation when meeting too many people after five years being caged in Room, i thought 'i knew this' and it was just refreshing seeing him experiencing the same thing. i think i get used to being among too many faces and have put the feelings at some shelf aside before it resurfaced after reading jack's account. i no longer feel that overwhelmed but i am just more aware of it, which is a good thing i suppose.

i think one of the best and most crucial aspects of this book is that it is a recount from jack's pov instead of his Ma's, because otherwise the story will totally shift and lose its strongest main point. jack's remarks and questions sound genuine and undemanding, not demeaning and definitely in no way condescending

i like watching jack's development post-Room. i also like when he is still in Room, when he never thinks of his situation as an awful one, except for old nick's presence. that is because he never sees the 'outside' and the core message here is not just that 'you won't miss what you never know' but also you might prefer what you have known inside out to what is better bigger in dimensions but you never encounter before. we are born preferring predictability before we know anything about boredom apparently.

there are lots of good bits and most owe to jack's 'creative' inquiries, eg when he asks for her grandmother to be naked when having a bath with him because that is what it always is with his mother. here is my favorite:
My fingers are scuba divers. The soap falls in the water and I play it's a shark. Grandma comes in with a stripey thing on like underwear and T-shirt stuck together with beads, also a plastic bag on her head she says is called a shower cap even though we're having a bath. I don't laugh at her, only inside. 
When she climbs in the bath the water gets higher, I get in too and it's nearly spilling. She's at the smooth end, Ma always sat at the faucet end. I make sure I don't touch Grandma's legs with my legs. I bang my head on a faucet. 
Why do persons only say that after the hurt?
also gradual acceptance, my heart wells up as i read the part where he learns that he should stop 'having some' (ie having his mom breastfeeding him)
In bed I remember, I pull her T-shirt up. 
“Ah,” says Ma, “I don’t think there’s any in there.” 
“Yeah, there must be.” 
“Well, the thing about breasts is, if they don’t get drunk from, they figure, OK, nobody needs our milk anymore, we’ll stop making it.” 
“Dumbos. I bet I can find some . . .” 
“No,” says Ma, putting her hand between, “I’m sorry. That’s all done. Come here.” 
We cuddle hard. Her chest goes boom boom in my ear, that’s the heart of her. 
I lift up her T-shirt. 
I kiss the right and say, “Bye-bye.” I kiss the left twice because it was always creamier. Ma holds my head so tight I say, “I can't breathe”, and she lets go.
lastly, a piece of his thought that i think is very well-put:
In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time. Even Grandma often says that, but she and Steppa don't have jobs, so I don't know how persons with jobs do the jobs and all the living as well. In Room me and Ma had time for everything. I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter over all the world, the roads and houses and playgrounds and stores, so there's only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit. 
Also everywhere I'm looking at kids, adults mostly don't seem to like them, not even the parents do. They call the kids gorgeous and so cute, they make the kids do the thing all over again so they can take a photo, but they don't want to actually play with them, they'd rather drink coffee talking to other adults. Sometimes there's a small kid crying and the Ma of it doesn't even hear.


  1. gorgeous. the paragraphs were beautiful, so innocence and childish. like it was truly written by a 5yo. i'm so putting this book on my wishlist.

    do you have goodreads? wanna visit my goodreads sometime too? http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6438745-btari-nadine


    1. hi nadine, thank you. i do not have any goodreads account at the moment.