seeing through their eyes

roomI often have the “must read” recommendations from friends and booklists slowly making their way to the top of a large pile next to my bed such that when I get to them, finish them – breathless and ready to talk – I’m years late to the conversation. So it is with “Room,” by Emma Donoghue, a story written from the point of view of Jack, a 5 year old born and raised in a single locked room after his mother’s abduction.

It’s amazing I ever opened this book to begin with — since becoming a parent I have such a low tolerance for danger and violence and avoid it when I can, including books, movies, even current events… And yes, this book is intense. But the relationship between Jack and Ma and the life they create in Room was captivating. Under extreme circumstance, Ma constructs a life for her son that is filled with imagination and love. I cheered her resourcefulness, was awed by her patience.

Seeing everything as we do through Jack’s eyes, we get the gift of a child’s perception. Like all children, he grapples with what is real, finds comfort often in the most unexpected things, is reassured by rituals, and is overwhelmed by how complicated and contradictory the world can be. What resonates so deeply throughout Jack’s storytelling is the intensity of his relationship with Ma. If born of an unusual situation, it was a powerful reminder of how profound a child’s love can be, and our responsibility, as parents, within it. -t

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