Perhaps I'm a little late hopping on the bandwagon, but I recently finished the audio book version of Room, by Emma Donoghue. If you subscribe to Writers Digest Magazine, you'll see the author on this month's cover. Room explores the fictional life of Jack, a five-year old boy born into captivity to a mother who's been held as a sex slave for 7 years. Think Elizabeth Smart or Jaycee Dugard.
First off, the subject matter is unquestionably intriguing. What happens in the mind of an innocent girl or young woman kidnapped for the purpose of being someone's sex slave? More interestingly, what's the perspective of a child resulting from from such a disturbing union? Donoghue tells her story in first person from the son of the captive woman. Jack has never known anything outside the 11 foot square room he and his mother share, which is really a sound-proof, locked down prison of a shed in their captor's back yard.
If you don't have children, I do have to caution you as to Jack's "voice." Having a four-year old myself, I can attest that the author's mastery of diction, syntax, and thought content of a preschooler are spot on. The entire book is from Jack's perspective, in his five-year old voice. Just as a child can't always verbalize what's causing him stress, Jack, put in stressfull situations, is simplistic in his expression and literal in interpretation. If you're not used to how children think and speak, I'm guessing it might slow down the flow of the book for you. The audio book version was particulary helpful in that respect.
I was particularly impressed with the range of emotion and depth of character that the author explores in Jack's mother's character through Jack's eyes. We can see, through Jack, his mother's anxiety at keeping him safe from their captor, at her desperation to get themselves out of their situation, and her despair in not being able to have given him a normal childhood. Even though Jack might not realize it, the reader can see his mother's strength and understandable vulnerabilities.
Finally, Donoghue takes what would ordinarily be a heavy theme and makes it lighter somehow by telling the story from kid's point of view. If you're not distracted by the voice in Room, I think you'll find it a worthwhile read. After all...we came to embrace young Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, didn't we?