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Bowdoin Reads

Mary Lou Kennedy, Director of Dining & Bookstore Services, is reading...

Room
by Emma Donaghue

About a month ago I purchased a Kindle and the first book I read from my summer reading list in that format was Room by Emma Donoghue. The novel is about the life of a young woman who is kidnapped by a sexual predator and kept in a small shed for years. It’s an awful premise, but the book was a finalist for the Man Booker Award and won the Irish Book Award. The story starts after “Ma” has been captive for 5 years. It started a little slow for me as the narration is in the voice of her 5 year old son who was born during her captivity. I wasn’t sure I wanted to “listen” to a five year old for the whole scope of a book, but somehow the author managed to use that child’s voice to put me in the mother’s head. Odd! I enjoy books that explore psychological themes and found this story believable and fascinating. The strategies the mother used to preserve her sanity and create a sense of normalcy for her child were resourceful and ultimately effective. The routines she created and choices she made to maintain physical and mental health for herself and her child were admirable. Her ability to create “distance” between the predator and herself and child was probably life-saving. There are many thought-provoking segments that highlight the conflict between the value systems she created in captivity and those of the outside world. I can’t say more without giving away the plot and outcomes, but all in all, I found this book to be a great summer read. By the way, I do love reading on the Kindle. I’m going on vacation next week and have about 10 books to choose from in one compact, lightweight and easy to read format!

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