Room

I am not quite finished with the book Room yet, but am undoubtedly in the heart of this story. To be honest, I started this novel written by Irish-born Emma Donoghue with a bit of skepticism; I was doubtful about the extremely unique narration style, and really wasn’t sure if I liked where it was going. However, I quickly changed my mind when the tension started picking up at an alarming rate. I am about half way done with this creatively brilliant novel, and am absolutely dying to know what will happen next. One thing in particular that I liked about our last section of reading was Jack’s reactions to the outside world—he is so surprised by everything, and even though the situation is so horrible, I find myself laughing at Jack’s remarks to things he experiences. For example, on page 167, when he is talking the police officer, Officer Oh, she is asking him about the tooth that he has. She asks him for the tooth he is carrying of Ma’s, and Jack says “It’s of Ma.” Then the officer says, “That’s your ma that you were talking about?” Jack carries on by telling the reader, “I think her brain’s not working like her ears aren’t, how could Ma be a tooth? I shake my head.” This was just one of many parts that stood out to me. The brilliant thing about this novel is precisely the narration from a five year old; and not only that, but one that has been locked in a 120 foot room his entire life. Every single thing he does has a completely different view that what most people get from things in life. He is basically starting from step one, and has to go against everything he knows once he gets into the real world. A lot of times, this view that Jack has is positive and honestly quite refreshing. However, it is dampened when we remember that he only has these views because he has been locked away from almost all aspects of the real world since the day he was born. In the same way, it is interesting to read about how people see Jack, and what their reactions are like. Most people know something is wrong, but can’t quite figure it out. Officer Oh was bright, and you could even say lucky enough to put the pieces together and figure out something was seriously wrong, and that his Ma needed help soon.

I am truly blown away by Donoghue’s ability in Room to create so much tension! I was honestly getting nervous myself and feeling a bit anxious because of the tension and stresses that take place during Jack’s escape and the search for Ma. There are so many factors that come into play and that can go wrong with this escape. Just the fact that Jack has no experience with anything he is going to deal with when he gets out is extremely troubling. For example, what will he possible think of trees, cars, houses, rivers, wind… the list goes on. All these things that are so normal and regular for us will be of the utmost astonishment for young Jack. Another big thing is Jack doesn’t even want to escape. He doesn’t understand it and has no clue why they would want to rebel against Old Nick or escape from Room. Finally, perhaps the most troubling thing to me while all this is going on, and maybe the most transparent or overlooked aspect, is what poor Ma is going through after Jack leaves. I imagine that her only option in a situation like this is to pray and just say it is up to Jack and God as to what happens while her son is in the outside world. Otherwise, she could drive herself mad by over thinking all these variables. Still, I feel so bad for Ma and I don’t think any of us know a half of what she is going on while Jack is in “TV”; she has to be a wreck, at least I know I would be. So far, Room has been a great read, and I cannot wait to find out what happens next!

Tenderwire

One thing that I thought would be interesting to look at after finishing Tenderwire is how Eva’s actions are affected by and a result of things that the reader does not know about until late in the story. We find out only at the end of Claire Kilroy’s Tenderwire that Eva has had a miscarriage prior to the start of events that take place. I really did not see this coming; I thought Eva was just a crazy lady who was losing it because of too much stress and pressure. I want to take a look at how our perspective and judgment of Eva’s character change, or don’t change, after learning this rather crucial fact. This general point was brought up in class and it really sparked a thought for me; I figured I would expand on this idea and look at it with more depth.

I know I read Eva’s actions in Tenderwire, especially the dangerous (often life-threatening) ones at the beginning with great skepticism. I could not make sense of why Eva was suddenly so sick and ailing to the extent where the reader had to question whether she would survive! Something that is even more intriguing is the question of why Kilroy would write her novel this way. There is always a reason to why an author puts or doesn’t put something in a text. With this in mind, I think a lot can be learned about Tenderwire, and I think we really see what Claire Kilroy wanted us to get out of this text. One could venture to say that all the events that take place in this story are meant to be second guessed and re-analyzed when the reader learns of this tragic miscarriage. It is simply astonishing to me how Eva is performing in a world class symphony in New York, is in the prime of her life, and has Krystof, a loving and caring boyfriend, but manages throws all of this away with such ease. So why in the world would Eva mix drugs and alcohol, go behind her boyfriends back with another man and not check in for any apparent reason, blow all her life’s work on a more than questionable violin deal with a dangerous and suspicious man, etc.? My view is that it all goes back to her loosing this child; she had such a great life, and I think it was absolutely shattered after this dreadful catastrophe. We know that Eva once had a stable relationship, and put in hard work and care to get her spot on the New Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra. So it is just that much more puzzling as to why she would be acting the way she is. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is unquestionable that Eva made more than a few bad decisions after this, and handled it in one of the worst ways possible. She hurt friends and family that truly loved and cared about her, risked her own life many times, and recklessly spent money that she did not truly work for. However, despite these things, I think it is important for the reader to go back and look at this entire story. I think that before any of us judge and look at Eva with uncertainty, we need to try and put ourselves in her shoes. This awful loss may not change your view on the story, but it sure made me give it another look.