Join EMMA DONOGHUE to talk about the Booker-shortlisted ROOM - our February Book of the Month - on Weds 16 February, 8-9pm

(257 Posts)

Our February Book of the Month shot to international bestsellerdom as soon as it was published in August 2010. ROOM by Emma Donoghue has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year. It has also been a finalist for International Author of the Year (Galaxy National Book Awards). 

We've also got a very special giveaway this month - the extremely generous Picador peeps are giving Mumsnetters 500 exclusive free copies of ROOM so quickly head to Picador's website to claim yours before they all get snatched up. There's also a taster chapter and interviews to whet your appetite.

We are delighted that Emma will be joining us on Wednesday February 16, 8-9 pm for the bookclub discussion - look forward to seeing you all there...

And you can read further interviews, watch trailers and get all the reviews for ROOM at Emma's website or you can also read the Booker Prize website's interview with Emma to find out more

Eleison Mon 17-Jan-11 12:36:53

ooh. That's a more interesting freebie than the Radox offers.

simpson Mon 17-Jan-11 14:16:16

done grin

I really want to read this book....

cookingfat Mon 17-Jan-11 14:22:32

me too grin

hoops997 Mon 17-Jan-11 14:28:31

Would love to read this book then review it!

hoops997 Mon 17-Jan-11 14:28:32

Would love to read this book then review it!

Ohforfoxsake Mon 17-Jan-11 14:30:52

I've just finished it. It's good. I shan't say anymore.

jeffner Mon 17-Jan-11 17:14:29

Yes indeedy!

jeffner Mon 17-Jan-11 17:14:48

Yes indeedy!

MrsWeasley Mon 17-Jan-11 17:59:37

sounds like a good read!

arentfanny Mon 17-Jan-11 18:02:48

Done, is very high up on my reading list, will try and get it from library aswell.

MINERVA12 Mon 17-Jan-11 18:43:28

yes please

Chocaholica Mon 17-Jan-11 18:51:38

I've just read this and thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to discussion and webchat!

scubagoose Mon 17-Jan-11 19:50:12

ooH I was reading about this book in the Times this weekend and really want it.. hope I get one.

NettieISroundlikefiggypudding Mon 17-Jan-11 19:55:20

cool could do with a good read indeed grin

rubyslippers Mon 17-Jan-11 19:59:03

Awesome and affecting book!

Looking forward to the webchat

Iamcountingto3 Mon 17-Jan-11 19:59:55

Oh, good choice - have been looking forwards to riding this....

flippinggorgeous Mon 17-Jan-11 20:14:45

If it is the first 500 will it just stop when they are all allocated?

muddyangels123 Mon 17-Jan-11 20:41:21

Looks like a good book.

gailforce1 Mon 17-Jan-11 21:15:43

Emma Donoghue is at one of our county libraries on 17th Feb. At the bottom of the publicity sheet it invites you to join a webchat with Emma on Mumsnet on Feb 16th. No chance of me getting a copy from the library then!!

FreudianSlipIntoMyLaptop Mon 17-Jan-11 23:06:20

Been meaning to read this book... Hope I get one!

Are there often free books for MNers? Never browsed the book club before...

Imarriedafrog Mon 17-Jan-11 23:14:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Buda Tue 18-Jan-11 15:13:18

Ooh have been wanting to read this!

MotherMountainGoat Tue 18-Jan-11 15:52:50

Excellent book, beautifully written.

comewhinewithme Tue 18-Jan-11 15:57:29

I loved this book -had to stay up during the night during one bit with my heart pounding.
I couldn't sleep until I knew what had happened.

sephrenia Tue 18-Jan-11 16:49:56

I've signed up too. I really hope I get a copy, I've been wanting to read it for ages!

pipsy76 Tue 18-Jan-11 19:56:42

Ooh as there are only 26 posts on this thread are we in with a chance of a freebie? smile

Mspontipine Tue 18-Jan-11 20:57:13

Done

Mumwithadragontattoo Wed 19-Jan-11 10:05:21

I've signed up too. Really hope I get a copy!

I think you are all in with an excellent chance of a freebie, with 500 copies to go round... and yes, we're planning to do a few more free books bonanzas throughout the year, will keep you posted on those.

Hope to see you all tomorrow eve 8pm for the Rose Tremain chat - even if you haven't read TRESPASS feel free to join in with questions about creative writing/previous books/etc. Everyone welcome...

Nonnatus Wed 19-Jan-11 19:56:07

I can't fill in the form - the boxes jump - so I guess I have missed out on this one....

me23 Fri 21-Jan-11 14:20:15

I read this a few months ago, it's a good read.

Tortington Fri 21-Jan-11 14:26:53

i read it a while ago - couldnt put it down

ghosteditor Fri 21-Jan-11 14:49:06

I actually love this book! If anyone local is interested, Emma Donahue will be speaking at an event organised by the Woodstock Bookshop on February 8th at 7pm. Woodstock is just north of Oxford. More info at http://www.woodstockbookshop.co.uk/

I will be there!

Cyb Fri 21-Jan-11 14:49:06

I loved it.A strange book that stayed with me for a long time and made me think

loujay Fri 21-Jan-11 15:02:46

Just finished this. Fantastically written book. Bookmarking the webchat!!

I'm intrigued - but for £2.80 I've downloaded it to my Kindle grin so passing up the freebie.

tgifandgandttime Sat 22-Jan-11 19:22:08

also, looking forward to ED at Tonbridge Library Thu 17 Feb www.whatsoninkentlocal.com/all/details/20332/ Enjoyed Room - belonged to South East Regional Book Group that shadowed Man Booker Prize, so read all shortlisted books - fantastic reading experience

Wilts Sat 22-Jan-11 22:36:13

Ohh this was the first book I put on my kindle today. I am looking forward to reading it.

FortunateHamster Sun 23-Jan-11 01:11:55

Read this on Kindle via my iPhone - great book (at a cheap price).

Though wondering whether the cheap Kindle editions affect the author royalty?

Anyway it's a good read, unless a five-year-old narrator is likely to annoy you.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 23-Jan-11 15:40:09

What Cyb said - I read in a day....

thunderbird69 Sun 23-Jan-11 16:18:35

comewhinewithme - me too! I'm guessing it was the same part of the book too.

Fantastic book.

DaftApeth Sun 23-Jan-11 16:24:27

I signed up for this book ages ago. When are the books being sent out? Did anyone get a confirmation email? Bit worried that as I have heard and received nothing, that my details did not go through.

Oh God comewhine and thunderbird - the heart pounding bit - I read it so fast I could hardly breathe! I had to re-read it the next morning to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I'm about half way through now, its a fantastic book.

Wilts Sun 23-Jan-11 22:29:35

I have not been able to put this down this evening and have just finished it( speedy reader) . Great book, I would certainly recommend it.

heymammy Mon 24-Jan-11 12:51:10

Got this book on saturday for my birthday <twirls> and had finished it by Sunday! Completely unputdownable (is that even a word grin), brilliant story.

I am happy to forward my copy on to someone else for free if you want to pm me. It's not the sort of book I would re-read so happy to part with it.

PipPipPip Mon 24-Jan-11 15:33:34

Fantastic book - I also whipped through it in about 36 hours, heart pounding.

DaftApeth Mon 24-Jan-11 15:55:29

Hey mammy, I have messages you grin

ivykaty44 Mon 24-Jan-11 19:46:33

I purchased this book last Thursday as part of a three for two offer, finished the book n saturday as I couldn't eek it out any longer smile it was heart pounding!

An excellent read and something very different which was well written.

Have applied for free tickets when Emma Donoghue comes to our local bookshop.

heymammy Mon 24-Jan-11 20:47:16

Got your message and replied Daft grin

NoseyNooNoo Mon 24-Jan-11 21:00:56

What's the appeal - can anyone convince me that this type of scenario is a good read?

DaftApeth Mon 24-Jan-11 21:04:34

Thanks, Heymammy. Have replied.

Thank you so much x

Horton Mon 24-Jan-11 22:08:38

It's really well-written, NoseyNooNoo. It's not in the least sensationalised and actually the most interesting part is the second half of the book (I can't say more for fear of spoilers).

I also read this incredibly fast as I just couldn't put it down. A really wonderful book.

I am really looking forward to more by the same author.

Ohforfoxsake Tue 25-Jan-11 10:38:28

Nosey - I wasn't, and still am not, entirely convinced by the concept of the story. But saying that, the central character was compelling and it was well written. I don't want to say much either, for fear of spoiling it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

therachelpapers Tue 25-Jan-11 11:19:54

What a coup! Should be a great discussion. SPOILER ALERT This book is very hard to talk about without giving it all away! But I would love to hear from Emma about which of the two quite different sections of the book she found more challenging to write, Room or Outside, and why. (I am in Australia, so out of chat time zone!) Thanks.

NoseyNooNoo Tue 25-Jan-11 13:28:23

Hmmm, I'm beginning to wonder - should I read it?

NoseyNooNoo Tue 25-Jan-11 13:35:02

If I read it will it make me feel sad? I'm the sort of person who reads about a topic like this and lies awake disturbed by it.

It isn't sad, because the narrator isn't sad iyswim. It is very moving, though. Just finished it on Kindle.

ivykaty44 Tue 25-Jan-11 16:05:14

the narrator isn't sad, he hasn't ever known any different all his life and that is part of the point surely?

Horton Tue 25-Jan-11 16:13:07

I think it's quite uplifting, actually. The resilience of the characters and their bravery is pretty amazing stuff.

Ohforfoxsake Tue 25-Jan-11 16:39:16

It's SO hard not to talk about it!

heymammy Tue 25-Jan-11 17:06:49

Book is in the post Daft, be prepared to do nothing for a couple days grin

earwicga Tue 25-Jan-11 17:48:22

Have the books been sent out? Just wondering in case I was lucky enough to have been allocated one, knowing that I will not be lucky enough to have a day spare to read it.

Horton Tue 25-Jan-11 22:17:40

>> It's SO hard not to talk about it!

It really is! I keep nearly posting enormous spoilers.

ShoonaBee Wed 26-Jan-11 16:21:56

Several members of my (all female, purely by coincidence, not by design) book club read this last year just after it came out and they took a few months to persuade the rest of us to read it, as most of us are mums and couldn't face what appeared to be such a traumatic read.
I finally read it a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. The type of book I had to keep picking up while making the tea etc, so the kids kept asking me what I was reading (hard to describe it loosely to the 7 and 10 year olds without scaring them though). Exceptionally imaginative and involving, superb use of language, very hopeful story and actually made me feel like a poor parent, in terms of the amazing parenting the mother in the book manages in such severe circumstances.
My book club is discussing it in a couple of weeks so v interested to see what the author has to say and what other Mumsnetters think. smile

Rowan49 Wed 26-Jan-11 19:35:54

I absolutely loved this book and have bought two copies (oops) - one for my classroom as I think some of my students will love it (I teach 11 - 18 year olds English)

madwomanintheattic Thu 27-Jan-11 01:57:03

ooo, ghosteditor, that's my hometown but i'm not living there at the mo! been to a few of their book festival events grin

and no freebie for me, either, as our book club are doing this on monday 31st jan, so i've already bought and read. bah humbug.

i wanted it to be in two parts with two narrators though. as a parent i was quite interested in the situation from the 'woman to mother' side - it could have been really interesting dealing with this in isolation, unaffected by society/ cultural expectations of motherhood. i thought the narrative as it stood was fine though - if a bit 'curious incident of the dog in the night time', so it was interesting to think of it from an aspergers/ social integration pov as well.

the juxtaposition of the two voices would have made it for me it hink. <moan moan, whinge whinge>

sarimillie Thu 27-Jan-11 08:14:59

Another one curious to know if the books have been sent out- does anyone know?

eyeofhorus Thu 27-Jan-11 11:23:42

yes, got my free one today!

arentfanny Thu 27-Jan-11 11:53:10

Got mine today, library copy returned.

DaftApeth Thu 27-Jan-11 12:30:17

Heymammy, it's here!

Thank you so much and you are so lovely to add in the treat wink

I shall delve into one later and start the book as soon as I have finished my current read - probably tomorrow.

I shall definitely pass it on when finished.

X

muddyangels123 Thu 27-Jan-11 12:48:43

My Free copy arrived this morning.
I can't wait to start reading.grin

flippinggorgeous Thu 27-Jan-11 13:17:57

Just got mine, thank you so much. You are far quicker than Radox.

deepdarkwood Thu 27-Jan-11 13:20:03

My copy arrived today smile - I have to say, from the cover (if I hadn't heard about it), I would have assumed this was going to be another of the miserable 'Crap Childhood' books - the Child Called It-style. Am looking forwards to reading it now.

Do we have a thread to discuss it yet?

GlynistheMenace Thu 27-Jan-11 13:49:29

*waves at group!

i got mine today, i had forgotten i'd applied but look forward to reading it

thanks bookclub

smile

MrsMeow Thu 27-Jan-11 15:45:55

Mine arrived today, thanks very much am hoping to start it tonight!

dingdong3 Thu 27-Jan-11 15:51:28

I got mine today also! What a lovely surprise - can't wait to start reading. Thanks so much to Picador and Mumsnet smile

megapixels Thu 27-Jan-11 17:05:41

Thank you! I got mine too. Lovely surprise as I'd forgotten all about it. Can't wait to read it. Will be back on the 16th.

chocoholic Thu 27-Jan-11 18:26:06

Thank you very much, my book arrived today too.
Looking forward to starting it tonight.

steffibabes Thu 27-Jan-11 19:58:23

Thanks mumsnet- got mine too!

pipsqueak Thu 27-Jan-11 21:17:23

and me - it looks great . cant wait to get stuck in

simpson Thu 27-Jan-11 21:26:28

Hope mine arrives tomorrow <<hopeful>>

I am desperate to read this grin

mondayschild Thu 27-Jan-11 21:31:28

Got my free copy today too - can't wait to get stuck in! Thank you smile

cakeforbrains Thu 27-Jan-11 21:32:03

Mine arrived today ... and I've finished it ... it was really good, couldn't put it down grin

cheekyweebesom Thu 27-Jan-11 22:17:04

Started mine which arrived today - so far so good. Thanks MN and Picador, most kind of you smile

sephrenia Fri 28-Jan-11 02:24:45

I got mine today (well, yesterday now)

llareggub Fri 28-Jan-11 10:09:21

I got mine yesterday. Absolutely gripping read; I was up until 1.30am reading. I can't wait to see Emma Donoghue at our local library.

Hullygully Fri 28-Jan-11 11:54:18

I read my not-free one in one go.

Well done, Emma. If I wore a hat I'd take it off.

deepdarkwood Fri 28-Jan-11 12:08:09

Well, have just finished it - definately a very fast, engrossing read! Will have a think about questions for Emma...

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 28-Jan-11 12:38:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

earwicga Fri 28-Jan-11 15:01:18

I didn't get a book, got an email offering me a half price copy. Nobody loves me...

Greenshadow Fri 28-Jan-11 15:36:23

No book here yet but think it was a few days in that I applied.

zandy Fri 28-Jan-11 16:39:03

I got my free book, thankyou.

Haven't started it yet, but will do so as soon as I've finished my present book.

Greenshadow Fri 28-Jan-11 19:11:36

Ahh, got my 'sorry you weren't lucky' email as well now.

MrsDrOwenHunt Fri 28-Jan-11 20:20:33

i have read it too, when can we post questions as i dont wanna give away anything

liath Fri 28-Jan-11 22:42:11

My free copy was waiting for me when I got back from work today and I've just finished it now. I think i'll need to re-read it more slowly but I couldn't help but rip through it, it was really engrossing. I'd forgotten I'd applied for it so nice to get a treat through the post!

yUMMYmUMMYb Sun 30-Jan-11 10:21:25

got mine on Friday, such a nice treat to get a free book, need to start it - looks good. i was worried i might not be able to read it in time for the chat, but it seems that everyone else has read it in a night!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 30-Jan-11 20:57:48

Pleased to hear the books have started arriving. There was an overwhelming response to the free book offer (though having been up all night on Friday night gripped, I'm not surprised). For those who missed out this time, Picador have managed to secure a deal with Waterstones which means you can buy a copy for just £3.99 including P&P until 4th February. For more info visit Picador offer. Great to see the book hit no. 1 in bestseller list today.

Sherbert37 Sun 30-Jan-11 21:38:52

So lovely to receive a free book. Thank you. Just trying to stay awake long enough to start it now.

Just finished reading this yesterday so was drawn to the thread when it popped up on the home page! It really moved me & is still playing on my mind today! I HAD to finish it within 24 hours of starting it I felt like I knew Jack - a beautifully well written book smile

BoffinMum Mon 31-Jan-11 19:03:28

Mine's come, I've read it, and it's now started the rounds locally.

biggerfeetsmallerboobs Tue 01-Feb-11 11:41:04

I got mine late last week and I've nearly finished it, enjoying it very much. Thanks Mumsnet and Picador!

Sherbert37 Tue 01-Feb-11 17:51:42

Wonderful thought provoking read. About to pass on my copy now.

sephrenia Wed 02-Feb-11 02:47:48

I finished reading this the same day I received it and I can honestly say that no book has ever had me crying as much as this one did.

I fell in love with Jack and his view of the world and was awed by his mother's strength. Even now I'm still thinking about it.

I've already passed this on to my mother who is just as taken with the story as I am and has already had requests to borrow it when she's done. Emma Donoghue is an absolutely brilliant writer in my eyes

I wonder where the inspiration for this story came from?

Filmbuffmum Wed 02-Feb-11 11:31:47

Also very grateful for free copy- loved it, and can't wait to lend it to friends and family. As the mother of a very chatty 4 year old, I felt that Jack's voice was amazingly realised- it must be really hard to 'do' convincing child narrators. Although the subject matter is sad, it was so beautifully handled. It made me think alot about how much life changes as a mother, and how one of our biggest responsibilities becomes to maintain a degree of normality for our children, even in difficult circumstances. I wondered whether the author had drawn from any real life experiences (obviously not being kidnapped and locked up!) in that respect. It reminded me of times when children are ill or family members die etc, and we have to think about how to present scary information in a way which the child can understand and cope with. Fantastic book.

Wheelybug Wed 02-Feb-11 17:39:47

Do we know when the cut off for receiving was ? I was able to enter my details last week - does this mean I'll receive a free copy ? I;d rather not order one and then a free one turn up grin. And I really want to read it now.

Chocolateporridge Wed 02-Feb-11 21:20:37

Thanks so much - almost finished reading my free copy and it's such a fantastic book. I've been reading it while breast feeding my 4 month old and hearing Jack's feelings on breast feeding made me feel even closer to her!

musicposy Wed 02-Feb-11 23:56:37

Was very excited to receive my free copy and really enjoyed this. Couldn't put it down - very thought provoking in so many ways but very well handled.

Looking forward to the webchat.

Kitsmum Thu 03-Feb-11 13:17:31

I missed my tramstop on the way to work reading this (on my Kindle, no less)!

Michiem Thu 03-Feb-11 19:26:51

Beautiful book, couldn't put it down and finished it in 2 days. Just passed it to my mum friend as you can't talk about it with people who haven't read it as you don't want to ruin it, plus had to put the emotions into words

averageyorkshiremum Sat 05-Feb-11 19:35:09

I loved the book so much and found it so hard to put down I sacrificed precious sleeping hours to finish it! As well as being a fantastically well written original story, I found it made me remember my parenting values and what's important as it's so easy to caught up in the material aspect of our society . It helped me realise my little boy is probably not missing out as much as I worry he is (low income and can't give him what I'd like to)as long as i'm there, I'm present and he's loved. My husbands loving it too!

Great to see so many happy customers and I hope everyone has now got their copy... don't forget that Emma will be here next Wednesday 16 February 8-9pm to answer all your questions. There are a few advance ones here already, but if you can't make the discussion night, or want to put up an advance question, then pop it here. I'll be sending the advance ones to Emma at the beginning of next week...

deepdarkwood, this will be the thread to discuss the book - we tried running two threads last month (one for webchat and one for discussion) but thought it was rather confusing. So the idea is to have the webchat and then carry on amongst ourselves here... hope that suits everyone?

We'll announce March's choice next week too, so keep your eyes peeled...

Haribojoe Thu 10-Feb-11 20:29:28

When I first started it I wasn't sure and was tempted to not bother BUT I'm so glad I carried on.

I absolutely loved the book and just didn't want it to end.

Tilly I have a question for Emma. How does/did she see the character of Jack's Grandmother? I ask because I found that I really didn't like her because of the way she was with Jack when he came to live with her.

Would love to know Emma's views on the character.

Thanks for the brilliant choice of book, looking forward to the next one smile

kissncuddle Fri 11-Feb-11 10:23:50

Have I missed the free book offer?

allsquareknickersnofurcoat Fri 11-Feb-11 11:31:30

Read it within 24 hours, great book!

moodymama Fri 11-Feb-11 17:26:29

Nearly finished the book. The fact that it is written in the language of a 5yr old makes it really hard to read. I like the premise and found it interesting to begin with but it's losing its draw. Enjoyable enough but with weak areas.

ShuffleBallChange Fri 11-Feb-11 18:28:47

I loved it. Fabulously written, being the mum of two boys, one 5 years old, the other 8 weeks - It broke my heart but warmed it at the same time. Brilliant.

Arti Fri 11-Feb-11 21:46:56

I have just finished reading this (thanks Mumsnet btw for the amazing free book offer!) - a phenomenal read on so many levels, beautifully written with a satisfying ending. I was apprehensive about reading it initially because of the subject matter, but am so glad I did, and got drawn in from page 1. For me, it was a powerful reminder of how priviliged I feel to be a mother, and of the immense resilience and bravery that people, including very young children, are capable of displaying.
Really looking forward to the discussion on the 16th.
Arti

foxter Sat 12-Feb-11 19:54:17

I missed the free offer, but it sounded so good, I downloaded it. It was brilliant! Really well written and totally gripping.

I also didn't like the grandmother at first, but t thought about her character a lot, and realised that a lot of the older generation (my mum included) would probably think the same way as her. That Jack was better off with his family than with the doctors in a hospital. And maybe she's right? What does anyone else think?

I think the difficulty for the grandmother was the fact that she had to try and love a grandchild who was born in such terrible circumstances. A constant reminder of the man who had robbed her of her daughter for so many years. The grandfather went back to Australia for that same reason. She was also struggling to identify with a child who had no concept of social customs etc. in my opinion.
I thought the book was extremely well written. I will be circulating it among my friends.

moodymama Sun 13-Feb-11 20:22:17

Foxter, I agreed with her that he was better off with family than with doctors. They couldn't possibly offer him love, stability and normality.
I found the grandfather quite self-indulgent.

A quick reminder to put any advance questions here before end of today, please...

I think this might be one of my all-time favourite Bookclub reads, so much to think about, looking forward to Wednesday very much indeed.

pommedeterre Mon 14-Feb-11 11:10:17

I'd like to know why we don't ever hear Ma's real name used? Jack can process other names but not his Ma's. Is it to show that he really cannot picture her except as a mother?

I loved it - one of those books where you want to carry on reading about the characters forever and feel so sad when it ends.

I loved Jack's attachment to Room in his memory as well.

Did Emma ever consider including a map of Room with the book?

moodymama Mon 14-Feb-11 11:28:10

Why was the book written solely from Jack's perspective? I would have loved to have had an insight into what Ma was thinking and feeling. It would have made the book a bit meatier - perhaps I read it too quickly but I didn't feel I had the time to really empathise with the characters as much as I could have.

I also would have liked a flash-forward to find out what their lives were like 5 years later. Perhaps a sequel? Jack turns out to be a Mummy's boy who can't cope with the real world and ends up holding someone captive himself? grin

Caro1302 Mon 14-Feb-11 21:59:04

This was my first download onto my Kindle and I read it practically in one sitting. Jack and Ma stay with you for a long time after the book is finished.

My question for Emma- why were the Outside characters were all so unsympathetic to Jack? It was unthinkable that Ma's brother and sister in law would have taken him into a busy shopping centre for example, and his Grandmother often seemed irritated by him. I almost felt more sorry for him on the outside than in Room (maybe I've just answered my own question...).

Can't wait till Wednesday smile

madwomanintheattic Tue 15-Feb-11 03:34:45

moodymama, i said the same thing upthread. i wanted the other voice (as well?)- as a parent i wanted to know how she coped, and i found the whole thing written in jack's voice a bit 'curious incident of the dog in the night time'. it was fine, but i wanted more.
it would have been a much grimmer read, though.

I think the reason why we didn't have the voice of the mother, and possibly why no map was included as well - was to allow the reader to almost assume that role themselves and fill in the blanks, so to speak. I think there needs to be room for self-interpretation and suppose that in real life, these types of stories or events are never entirely understood or explained.

I thought it was a great read, really made you see things from the captive's point of view. I don't have any questions (yet) but wanted to say well done to Emma, it's a truly unique story.

deepdarkwood Tue 15-Feb-11 13:56:37

I too loved the voice of Jack - beautifully realised - subtle but absolutely compelling. How much time were you spending around 4 year olds at the time smile?
I loved the way Jack called items Room, Chair, Bed etc, and liked the emotional connection that was set up with innanimate objects, but linguistically it didn't ring true to me - surely a child would learn grammer from the adult, and Ma would have talked about the chair?

My questions:
- it's such a quick, easy read - as an author do you see any problems with that? I almost felt that I wanted to have to slow down and consider a bit more (I am a dreadful person for reading too fast anyway!)
- what research did you do into captive behaviours, and into the treatment of people coming out of these sorts of experiences. The hospital seemed unforgivably naive to me, but maybe that's the reality when people deal with these situations so infrequently.
- The thing I liked most about this book was that I was left feeling sad that Jack & Ma had escaped. Their life inside Room was so idyllic in some ways - 100% creative, expressive maternal attention (when Ma was 'on'). It made me feel guilty about the amount of time I spend 'doing' rather than playing with my kids. What are your feelings about distance vs closeness in maternal relationships
- What made you decide to show extended breastfeeding - and what responses have you had to the way this is depicted?

madwomanintheattic Tue 15-Feb-11 14:53:04

i was most interested in the parenting choices aspect, i think. what would you do as a reasonably young and naive girl with no childcare experience if you found yourself alone and giving birth/ raising a child without access to advice or even the companionship of other mothers? (the extended bf a good example) an interesting way to question cultural expectations of raising children... (and neatly exemplified by 'outside', where ma's choices are somewhat attacked and j by even being 'outside' is subject to potential harm - sun/ germs etc)

so, i would like to know whether emma has a longstanding interest in mothering practices - does she have children (haven't dug up a bio etc) and whether she goes against current cultural expectations herself, or toes the line?

HattiFattner Tue 15-Feb-11 20:24:50

I found myself drawn to Steppa. The man with the least experience of parenting,and yet he was the one that found a connection with Jack, who allowed him just to be. Everyone else had preconceptions of how jack should be. Steppa just accepted him for who he was. Was he based on someone you know and love Emma?

I don't know quite how to put this question but perhaps should contextualise it by saying that I am also a lesbian parent...I wondered if the absence of a father figure (and the separation that is clearly made between biology and social role in relation to Old Nick) was in some sense a representation of queer parenting - the focus on the maternal bond, the exclusion of the outside world? The wonderful effort at moving outside of social norms for parenting? At some kind of symbolic level?

utterlyslutterly Tue 15-Feb-11 23:20:16

Brilliant read Emma!

I always leave a book wondering what happens next, or in the future. For instance, I pictured Jack, in 20 years time, meeting Old Nick in prison - maybe to satisfy his curiosity, or to understand his father more? I have adopted children who may face similar difficulty meetings with birth parents, so I was interested in this aspect of the book.

Being a writer, do you ever ever place your characters in future situations and wonder what happens next? Or does your relationship with the story end at the end of the book?

BigBadMummy Wed 16-Feb-11 09:47:21

Loved this book, though found it harrowing.

Read it in virtually one sitting this weekend.

cakeywakey Wed 16-Feb-11 10:37:07

I got this book as a Valentine's gift from DH and finished it last night. I thought that it was a deceptively simple story - it must have been so hard to make it seem so Emma.

I agree with other posters that some of the family Outsiders seemed too blase about his ordeal - surely they would have been more considerate of his situation? Or is their behaviour something you've picked up from your research?

And, sneaky question number two. In your acknowledgements you mention that your Brother-In-Law was scarily practical about the set-up of Room. In what way?

Lucifera Wed 16-Feb-11 10:37:59

I've just re-read Room before discussing in my book group tomorrow, so I'll try to look in on the webchat tonight - great to read this thread too. Drivingmisscrazy, that's a good point about lesbian/queer parenting, hope you don't mind if I pinch it for my group meeting!

About grandparents and others in Outside, I thought the characters and their behaviour and reactions were wonderfully realistic and credible. They were all shown as well-intentioned (with the possible exception of the TV woman), trying hard to be sensitive and kind, trying to make a relationship with Jack (and think how odd his behaviour and reactions would seem) ... and of course they all screwed up in some ways.

ohmydear Wed 16-Feb-11 10:48:20

what age is this aimed at? adults or adults and older children?

cakeywakey Wed 16-Feb-11 11:08:35

Really Lucifera? I thought that the Grandmother was thinking more about herself and didn't always consider the practicalities of how to handle Jack and introduce him to new things. Like taking him down to the spare room in the first instance, not putting his suncream on, and almost looking for kudos from her book group about how great she was being in taking him on.

I also thought that the brother and sister-in-law were v thoughtless on the trip out. TBH I'm suprised that the clinic would have let them take him out without someone to closely chaperone him.

GoldenGreen Wed 16-Feb-11 11:55:52

I haven't read the book yet, but love your work Emma, so I certainly will read it at some point.

I just want to say a heartfelt and genuine thank you for writing "Stir Fry". I read it when I was 18 and just coming out and it made a big difference to the way I felt about myself. Also it is a fab book anyway smile

Lucifera Wed 16-Feb-11 12:13:00

well cakey, the situation was so new to them, it didn't surprise me. The brother and SIL weren't highly trained people used to interacting with traumatised children, they were just very ordinary folks and I think ED puts them over as perhaps not the greatest parents to their own daughter - at least, the girl is shown being whiny, selfish, babyish (OK typical perhaps!).

And I actually liked the grandmother a lot; she didn't always think very clearly or foresee every problem but she was honest and loving. It seemed quite natural to me that she'd chat to her mates about the situation, I didn't see it as looking for kudos.

I like finding flawed, complicated characters in fiction, they are like me, like most people I know.

deepdarkwood Wed 16-Feb-11 13:53:04

Agree cakewakey re: BIL/SIL - the idea that the clinic would let a child so 'new' to the world out with utterly untrained people who he didn't know without any sort of briefing (as far as one could tell) seemed madness. But then I think that's partly because Emma did such a great job of making you feel the safety and warmth of Jack's life in Room. As a reader, you just knew how deeply everything Outside was going to affect him.

teafortwo Wed 16-Feb-11 14:02:09

My dd was fiddling with my copy of 'Room' and asked "What is it about?" I hesitated then explained and she smiled "Ooooh - just like Rupunzel".

This made me stop and think. The story, in my mind; does have an old style (pre Grimm, ladybird and Disney 'cleaning up' e.g Rupunzel being pregnant and Cinderella being terribly tortured) fairytale quality about it. How much do you feel that 'Room' draws on a true Fairytale tradition?

EleanorJosie Wed 16-Feb-11 16:27:26

I thought it was great. Deceptively simple to read and making you think about the situation without veering into the gratutitous, mawkish or overly sentimental as many books do. I wanted more at the end. Has anyone asked about a sequel?

cakeywakey Wed 16-Feb-11 16:46:00

Maybe I'm being too hard on the Grandmother Luifera, there just seemed to be a lot of eye rolling and sighing from her, and I didn't like the guilt tripping comments when she was first reunited with Ma and when they were driving to the independent living block. She just put my back up grin

EleanorJosie Wed 16-Feb-11 17:21:24

Definitely, but that's what made her so realistic for me. I know/have met people like that.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 17:33:34

Test

MrsMeow Wed 16-Feb-11 19:01:41

I finished my free copy and have recommended it to anyone who will listen!

It was beautifully written, and I found myself holding my breath as I turned the pages. I was desperate to know if the lovely Jack got help safely, and found myself doing a silent cheer when he did. Then I remembered that he was just a fictional character!

I was sad to finish it. I haven't felt like that in YEARS about a book. Since I read Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews in fact (v similar type of story)

Well done Emma, will look forward to reading more of your books

madwomanintheattic Wed 16-Feb-11 19:03:18

<wails> i have to go to wooooork!

will read later
(marks place for start of webchat)

MrsMeow Wed 16-Feb-11 19:08:15

Emma, could I ask where you got the idea from for the book, and whether the Josef Fritzl story had anything to do with it?

MayorNaze Wed 16-Feb-11 19:35:52

i did enjoy this book

am posting and running but will try and return...

i was really interested in the sense of routine that the girl managed to establish and how she incorporated manners, education and exercise into their lifestyle, despite there only ever being the two of them. a way of maintaining sanity or a way of hanging onto the hope that they would some day live outside of Room? she (whether through necessity or her natural character) seemed to respond to her situation in a very "sensible" manner, if that makes sense confused?

carve133 Wed 16-Feb-11 19:49:39

Emma, I thoroughly enjoyed Room. It was extremely touching, heart-racingly exciting, and had me thinking long after I had finished it. My questions:

1) Other posters have mentioned the difficulties that some of the adults in Jack's new 'outside' life had in relating to him. I'm sure that the empathy we as readers felt for Jack was all the more so for you as the author, so I wondered if the second half of the novel was more difficult in some ways to write?

2) Can I ask about your decision to have Ma as an adopted child?

3) It says 'Not the End' at the end (or something similar - MIL has my copy now!). Does this mean, as others have asked, that there may be a sequel?

Thank you again and congratulations on writing such an enjoyable, clever and thought provoking novel.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 19:52:25

therachelpapers

What a coup! Should be a great discussion. SPOILER ALERT This book is very hard to talk about without giving it all away! But I would love to hear from Emma about which of the two quite different sections of the book she found more challenging to write, Room or Outside, and why. (I am in Australia, so out of chat time zone!) Thanks.

Actually they were about the same: in the first half, the challenge was to get the balance between grim and happy right, and in the second, it was more about deciding what bits of the world Jack should encounter... but it always felt as if, if I held tight to his perspective, he'd lead me through.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 19:54:06

ShoonaBee

Several members of my (all female, purely by coincidence, not by design) book club read this last year just after it came out and they took a few months to persuade the rest of us to read it, as most of us are mums and couldn't face what appeared to be such a traumatic read.
I finally read it a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. The type of book I had to keep picking up while making the tea etc, so the kids kept asking me what I was reading (hard to describe it loosely to the 7 and 10 year olds without scaring them though). Exceptionally imaginative and involving, superb use of language, very hopeful story and actually made me feel like a poor parent, in terms of the amazing parenting the mother in the book manages in such severe circumstances.
My book club is discussing it in a couple of weeks so v interested to see what the author has to say and what other Mumsnetters think. smile

Believe me, writing it made me feel like a bad parent too! I'm so not 'Ma', I'm older (41) and more irritable and distracted by some of the many other things I want to do, including (but not limited to) writing books.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 19:55:51

madwomanintheattic

ooo, ghosteditor, that's my hometown but i'm not living there at the mo! been to a few of their book festival events grin

and no freebie for me, either, as our book club are doing this on monday 31st jan, so i've already bought and read. bah humbug.

i wanted it to be in two parts with two narrators though. as a parent i was quite interested in the situation from the 'woman to mother' side - it could have been really interesting dealing with this in isolation, unaffected by society/ cultural expectations of motherhood. i thought the narrative as it stood was fine though - if a bit 'curious incident of the dog in the night time', so it was interesting to think of it from an aspergers/ social integration pov as well.

the juxtaposition of the two voices would have made it for me it hink. <moan moan, whinge

whinge>

Yes, some readers would like to hear from Ma directly but I think her perspective would have been too weighed down by sadness, so I decided to set myself the challenge (the book's most difficult task, in fact) of making her a vivid character only through what Jack tells us about her...

Evening everyone

I'm absolutely thrilled and exited to introduce Emma Donoghue as tonight's Author of the Month. ROOM has captivated us all with it's originality, compassion and brilliance. There is so much to discuss, I'm delighted that we have the chance to ask a few questions.

So without further ado...

Emma, firstly - congratulations on a stupendous book. And thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Perhaps we could kick off with the advance questions from further up the thread? And then we'll aim to get through as many as possible over the next hour.

I'd also like to add two questions:

Which childhood book most inspired you?

What would be the first piece of advice you would give anyone attempting to write fiction?

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:00:13

carve133

Emma, I thoroughly enjoyed Room. It was extremely touching, heart-racingly exciting, and had me thinking long after I had finished it. My questions:

1) Other posters have mentioned the difficulties that some of the adults in Jack's new 'outside' life had in relating to him. I'm sure that the empathy we as readers felt for Jack was all the more so for you as the author, so I wondered if the second half of the novel was more difficult in some ways to write?

2) Can I ask about your decision to have Ma as an adopted child?

3) It says 'Not the End' at the end (or something similar - MIL has my copy now!). Does this mean, as others have asked, that there may be a sequel?

Thank you again and congratulations on writing such an enjoyable, clever and thought provoking novel.

I'm afraid 'Not the End' was a slogan added by I think one of the TV book clubs to the paperback edition, not a comment of mine at all... Many people have asked for a sequel but I have no intention of writing one, I prefer Jack and Ma to head into a future that the reader has to imagine for them. In my mind Ma and Jack get to become increasingly ordinary: that's the best thing I could wish for them.

Re: Ma being adopted, I was afraid that people would take the first half of the book as a statement that the bond between birth mother and child is the most sacred one... whereas I think parenting is a form of magic that can happen between any child and any adult who commits to them. So I thought it would complicate it a little bit if in the second half of the book, Jack encounters various things (adoption, step fathers) that complicate the picture-perfect image of the nuclear family. My own family (two mums, two kids) is an unusual one so that's part of what I was bringing to Jack's story.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:01:40

TillyBookClub

Evening everyone

I'm absolutely thrilled and exited to introduce Emma Donoghue as tonight's Author of the Month. ROOM has captivated us all with it's originality, compassion and brilliance. There is so much to discuss, I'm delighted that we have the chance to ask a few questions.

So without further ado...

Emma, firstly - congratulations on a stupendous book. And thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Perhaps we could kick off with the advance questions from further up the thread? And then we'll aim to get through as many as possible over the next hour.

I'd also like to add two questions:

Which childhood book most inspired you?

What would be the first piece of advice you would give anyone attempting to write fiction?

Hi Tilly
Childhood book... I'd have to say the complete Narnia cycle, which is a wonderful allegory of how books work - they literally yank you into another world, as is always happening to those kids at the start of each adventure.

And advice? Forget 'write what you know'. Write to the utmost limits of what you can imagine.

champagnesupernova Wed 16-Feb-11 20:02:37

ooh excited to see Emma here!
Hello Emma
And thanks for coming!

Sorry to gush but LOVED the book and as so many others here have said, found it hard not to talk about.

Like deepdarkwood, I am a dreadful one for reading (perhaps too) quickly and with such an unputdownable book I did it in a day to the neglect of my children housework wink

But the book has stayed with me and have been thinking about it a LOT.
Did you know that it would be so compelling as the characters revealed themselves to you?

yummytummy Wed 16-Feb-11 20:02:42

hi, a really fantastic book, really enjoyed it. however i too wondered how you saw things going for jack and his ma in the future. any plans for a sequel maybe? or is the idea for readers to use their own imaginations?

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:03:19

deepdarkwood

My copy arrived today smile - I have to say, from the cover (if I hadn't heard about it), I would have assumed this was going to be another of the miserable 'Crap Childhood' books - the Child Called It-style. Am looking forwards to reading it now.

Do we have a thread to discuss it yet?

Re: the cover, I wasn't thrilled about the blurred-looking-little-boy myself, but many of the chains that sell paperbacks in large numbers pretty much insist on having some kind of emotive photograph...

chabbychic Wed 16-Feb-11 20:04:11

Loved it too. Most of it had me in tears as I have a nearly five year old and we say mind the bed bugs don't bite every night!

PaisleyLeaf Wed 16-Feb-11 20:04:24

With 2 children, how/when do you write?
Do you set yourself office hours?

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 16-Feb-11 20:04:36

Hi Emma, First I would like to say a massive "Thank you" really loved Room.

Secondly, following on the 'feeling like a bad mother' theme, this para really shook me and actually made me cry. Was the intention to make the reader re-look at the world through an innocents eyes? Because if it was then this was the point that it really clicked with me, if not .... as you were.

(I hope you don't mind me quoting, but I think it is a poignant point in the story)

"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 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 cute, they make the kids do the things 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."

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:04:46

sephrenia

I finished reading this the same day I received it and I can honestly say that no book has ever had me crying as much as this one did.

I fell in love with Jack and his view of the world and was awed by his mother's strength. Even now I'm still thinking about it.

I've already passed this on to my mother who is just as taken with the story as I am and has already had requests to borrow it when she's done. Emma Donoghue is an absolutely brilliant writer in my eyes

I wonder where the inspiration for this story came from?

It was hearing about Felix Fritzl back in April 2008 that put the story into my mind. But I really wrote it because my kids were 4 and 1 and my mind was brimming over with thoughts about parenting.

zandy Wed 16-Feb-11 20:05:14

How did you come to a decision about the level of spoken grammar for the five year old boy's speech?

atswimtwolengths Wed 16-Feb-11 20:05:22

Hi Emma

There was something that confused me in The Room (which I really liked, btw) - you have Ma talk about Googling when she's in the clinic - do you think she could have picked up that expression in the room?

champagnesupernova Wed 16-Feb-11 20:07:31

atswimtwolengths
they had tv, dont forget!!

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:07:57

Filmbuffmum

Also very grateful for free copy- loved it, and can't wait to lend it to friends and family. As the mother of a very chatty 4 year old, I felt that Jack's voice was amazingly realised- it must be really hard to 'do' convincing child narrators. Although the subject matter is sad, it was so beautifully handled. It made me think alot about how much life changes as a mother, and how one of our biggest responsibilities becomes to maintain a degree of normality for our children, even in difficult circumstances. I wondered whether the author had drawn from any real life experiences (obviously not being kidnapped and locked up!) in that respect. It reminded me of times when children are ill or family members die etc, and we have to think about how to present scary information in a way which the child can understand and cope with. Fantastic book.

Good point, we all have moments of having to explain terrible things (death, illness, violence, Nazis) to our kids - or deciding to fudge it. Some of the conversations in Room, for instance when Ma finds herself regretting that she's told Jack about that science experiment with the baby monkeys, are based on moments between myself and my son when I'm trying to get myself out of some complicated story about, say, slavery... So no, ROOM isn't based on any particular experiences of mine except the everyday extraordinary experience of having kids. I tried to make it as universal as I could - to make Jack's odd story touch on everybody's story at points.

LordVolAuVent Wed 16-Feb-11 20:08:15

Hi emma, thank you for this book. I LOVED it and have thought about it for so long since (plus recommended it to all mums!!) it's made me want to be a better parent myself.

A couple of questions:

1. Jack comments that people Outside don't seem to play with their kids enough. Is this something you believe yourself? Should we interact more with our children?

2. Would you have made the decision Ma did re. their rescue? Do you think it was right? Obviously Jack was put at great risk and she may never have known what happened to him. would you have been able to go through with it?

3. What bit made you cry the most (if any?) ???

Thanks!

atswimtwolengths Wed 16-Feb-11 20:08:53

Yes, they did, Champagne, but I can't think of hearing that expression and understanding it without experiencing it.

Yesgotmyhandsfull Wed 16-Feb-11 20:08:56

where is this live book chat? Where should I be going for tonight's chat? Durrrr?

Caro1302 Wed 16-Feb-11 20:09:37

Hi Emma, I'm so glad to hear that you're not considering a sequel. I was desperately sad when the book ended and Ma and Jack still play on my mind now, about 4 weeks later. But I loved how it ended, with Ma setting up their little home and aiming for normality. I'd prefer a sequel to stay in my imagination.

Welcome, it's lovely to have you here and lovely to talk about your fantastic book (sorry to gush smile)

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:10:46

Haribojoe

When I first started it I wasn't sure and was tempted to not bother BUT I'm so glad I carried on.

I absolutely loved the book and just didn't want it to end.

Tilly I have a question for Emma. How does/did she see the character of Jack's Grandmother? I ask because I found that I really didn't like her because of the way she was with Jack when he came to live with her.

Would love to know Emma's views on the character.

Thanks for the brilliant choice of book, looking forward to the next one smile

Grandma is deeply flawed because... I wanted her to represent the human race, since she's the first person Jack starts to really get to know. It would have been easy to have her be some marvellously accepting, sensitive grandmother. I wanted to show that even a very well-meaning and warm person is going to have enormous trouble both coming with the return of her daughter (in this almost unrecognizable form) and knowing how best to welcome Jack into a world that's foreign to him. I think she does a pretty OK job but some readers do find her blunders hard to forgive...

HattiFattner, I agree about Steppa - he has the most natural, instinctive reaction to Jack (I especially loved his getting into Lego) despite his not being 'blood'. What Emma has just said about parenting being a bond between any adult and child, not just a biological process for direct relatives, is such an interesting point.

champagnesupernova Wed 16-Feb-11 20:11:01

Handsfull, read the thread from where Emma (posting in green) turns up
HTH

Elly68 Wed 16-Feb-11 20:11:16

Hi Emma - Loved the book. But goodness what a tall order to write it based on most of the viewpoint coming from a five year old. How did you overcome not losing Jack's perspective on how he saw the world or the 'room'?

thousandsplendidsuns Wed 16-Feb-11 20:11:44

One element that broke my absorption in the book was the way Jack gets to escape by pretending to be dead and the captor never checks him out... If he was controlling enough to bury chicken wire under the floor wouldn't he at least have had a tiny peek????

champagnesupernova Wed 16-Feb-11 20:11:48

Doh! posting in YELLOW
Tilly is posting in green
<sleepdeprived>

Yesgotmyhandsfull Wed 16-Feb-11 20:12:04

Sorry found it!!!

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:12:24

moodymama

Nearly finished the book. The fact that it is written in the language of a 5yr old makes it really hard to read. I like the premise and found it interesting to begin with but it's losing its draw. Enjoyable enough but with weak areas.

I agree, Jack's language demands some effort from the readers. (Though not compared with some books in really strange invented dialects, such as Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange!) I suppose my hope was that it pays off, because readers get more attached to him because they've had to work to figure out his world...

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:14:45

thousandsplendidsuns

One element that broke my absorption in the book was the way Jack gets to escape by pretending to be dead and the captor never checks him out... If he was controlling enough to bury chicken wire under the floor wouldn't he at least have had a tiny peek????

Good question, nobody's ever asked that before. What I was trying to suggest is that Ma does have a certain power over Old Nick, as the victims often do in this kind of long-term kidnapping situation. And that on that particular night, with the force of her (fake) grief, and her making him swear not to unwrap Jack, she does manage to compel Old Nick - spook him into - doing what she's told him to. There's a moment when he could simply bury Jack in the bushes like the first baby, too, but he doesn't.

Hi Emma

I really enjoyed Room. I thought that the way in which we understand Ma's desperation to get out although Jack does not was amazing. And I wondered how you weighed up the optimum age for Jack? Not understanding of the situation but beginning to question and getting a bit big (presumably) for Wardrobe and for Ma to minimise his existence to Old Nick.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:16:41

Elly68

Hi Emma - Loved the book. But goodness what a tall order to write it based on most of the viewpoint coming from a five year old. How did you overcome not losing Jack's perspective on how he saw the world or the 'room'?

I spent months before writing the book figuring out exactly what Jack would be like, what he'd know in theory (from TV or from Ma) and what he'd know in practice from his senses. Then I launched into writing it, always in Jack's head, not letting myself put anything down that Jack wouldn't think to comment on. But I still made mistakes I had to correct, like at one point I had him compare the fuzzy feel of Plant's leaves to a dog, then I remembered he doesn't know what dogs feel like...

lockets Wed 16-Feb-11 20:18:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:18:43

TillyBookClub

HattiFattner, I agree about Steppa - he has the most natural, instinctive reaction to Jack (I especially loved his getting into Lego) despite his not being 'blood'. What Emma has just said about parenting being a bond between any adult and child, not just a biological process for direct relatives, is such an interesting point.

Steppa is one of my own favourites, actually. I always wanted an ideal man for Jack to encounter in the second half, and I thought it would be nicely unpredictable for that man to come not in the form of the Wise Doctor or Long-Awaited Grandpa but as a bald, dope-smoking newcomer to the family, who really has no history with Ma or much of a stake in the story, or even parenting experience, he just happens to be one of these people who are relaxed around kids.

Earwigging Wed 16-Feb-11 20:20:07

Hi Emma fab book.

Did Ma extend breastfeeding to prevent another pregnancy?

Also do you think she would have considered the chance that Jack escaped but Old Nick had the chance to return and kill her when he realised what had happened?

mumutd Wed 16-Feb-11 20:20:07

Hi, just arrived. Wanted to say that I bought your book a few days ago, haven't been able to start it yet but cannot wait!

ilovesushi Wed 16-Feb-11 20:20:24

I loved the breastfeeding aspect of the book. It was so tender and real. My two year old recently stopped breastfeeding and like Jack he kissed goodbye to my breasts when he stopped. It was lovely to read something so insightful and ‘on the money’ about not just breastfeeding but all the minutae of motherhood.

I thought ma was an amazing mother and her way of dealing with the horror of their situation by shutting down for a day or so was probably the kindest way (to Jack) of retaining her sanity.

I wondered what you took from your own experience of motherhood. Is ma the mother you try to be? I found her inspirational.

x

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:21:12

[quote LordVolAuVent]

Hi emma, thank you for this book. I LOVED it and have thought about it for so long since (plus recommended it to all mums!!) it's made me want to be a better parent myself.

A couple of questions:

1. Jack comments that people Outside don't seem to play with their kids enough. Is this something you believe yourself? Should we interact more with our children?

2. Would you have made the decision Ma did re. their rescue? Do you think it was right? Obviously Jack was put at great risk and she may never have known what happened to him. would you have been able to go through with it?

Most of the satirical bits are aimed at myself: I'm one of those mothers in Starbucks fobbing her kids off with giant cookies so she can talk to her friends or check her email. My kids are growing up so fast and I always feel I haven't played with them enough...
Re: the rescue, no, I don't think I'd have had the courage to change the status quo. I don't have any of Ma's superhuman qualities.
As for the bit that makes me cry, it's when she's telling him about the stillbirth.

DancingThroughLife Wed 16-Feb-11 20:23:33

I bought the book a couple of weeks ago, not realising I could have got a free copy. But it was so worth the money. It's one of the most compelling and haunting books I've read in ages.

I don't have a question to ask - earwigging has just covered what I was wondering about the escape - just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. smile

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:24:15

Twowillbefine

Hi Emma

I really enjoyed Room. I thought that the way in which we understand Ma's desperation to get out although Jack does not was amazing. And I wondered how you weighed up the optimum age for Jack? Not understanding of the situation but beginning to question and getting a bit big (presumably) for Wardrobe and for Ma to minimise his existence to Old Nick.

Good question, and I didn't pick five just because Felix Fritzl was five or because my son was hitting five. I think five is the perfect balance point because they can communicate in complicated language but they're still pretty alien; there's so much about the world that they (even if they live in Outside!) don't understand. And also, yes, I thought that at five Jack would start acting more independently and so jeopardising the status quo, as for instance when he gets out of Wardrobe and wakes Old Nick...
Also I didn't Jack to be getting old enough that his baby-like physical closeness with Ma (sharing a bed, breastfeeding) would start even verging on the incestuous.

Elly68 Wed 16-Feb-11 20:24:45

Emma- why did you decide that Ma should try to take her own life in hospital? She always fought to protect Jack and then when they finally reached the 'outside' she was constantly trying to make him see how wonderful everything could be...

WipsGlitter Wed 16-Feb-11 20:24:55

Hi Emma, I wasn't sure about this book, but I really loved it. It was simple but very moving and absorbing.

thousandsplendidsuns Wed 16-Feb-11 20:25:58

You mention Clockwork Orange and the style of language that's used - was this an inspiration to you and which other books did you find useful to get the right tone of the voice for Jack?

Emma, a number of people have asked about your research - did you read a lot about captive situations? Or discuss it with psychologists? I thought the doctor was very well drawn and wondered if he might be based on a real person?

(suddenly realised that the answer you gave to my initial question - 'write to the limits of your imagination' - might mean you didn't do any of the above...)

Wheelybug Wed 16-Feb-11 20:27:06

Oops thought this started at 8.30.

I bought this after everyone was raving about it on here and read it in a couple of sessions. What a great book - thank you.

I always want to know how the author of a book envisage things having turned out afterwards (I don't want sequels to read though). I have quickly read the thread and see you have answered this and it seems like you didn't write it with a future in mind (even if it was just in your mind).

Will try and think of a more original question !

Tricky45 Wed 16-Feb-11 20:27:13

Hi Emma, I work with clients with dissociative disorders and one of them commented that they found reading The Room like listening to and being inside the thoughts of one of their inside children. How did you manage to capture the mind of a five year old so well?

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:27:25

zandy

How did you come to a decision about the level of spoken grammar for the five year old boy's speech?

Well, I didn't have to stick to what most five-year-olds speak like, because I knew that Jack's upbringing has been a very hothouse one; whatever he lacks in terms of swings and slides, he's got linguistic stimulus. So I went for a language that is quite sophisticated, in that inconsistent way kids have of using some long words correctly but still messing up some basic turns of phrase. Kids don't progress evenly through vocabulary levels, they just grabs at language and have fun with it! Interestingly, one blogger ran the novel through some kind of search engine that tells you the age-related language level of any text, and she came up with an age of 7.

Blatherskite Wed 16-Feb-11 20:29:04

I expected the shopping mall to be really scary for Jack, for all the noises and people to send him screaming for his Ma or curled up in a ball unable to cope with the huge amount of (can't think of a better word) input. Especially after we learn that he doesn't like lots of people talking over one another in the hospital.

I was a bit shocked when the worst that happened was a bit of shoplifting...

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:29:49

ilovesushi

I loved the breastfeeding aspect of the book. It was so tender and real. My two year old recently stopped breastfeeding and like Jack he kissed goodbye to my breasts when he stopped. It was lovely to read something so insightful and ?on the money? about not just breastfeeding but all the minutae of motherhood.

I thought ma was an amazing mother and her way of dealing with the horror of their situation by shutting down for a day or so was probably the kindest way (to Jack) of retaining her sanity.

I wondered what you took from your own experience of motherhood. Is ma the mother you try to be? I found her inspirational.

x
Actually I'm way less atttachment-parenting than Ma but I have one friend who breastfeeds her kids till five, and I thought it made absolute sense in the context of Room. (That friend's two-year-old currently calls her mother's breasts 'my babies'!) I nursed my daughter till 16 months and still sometimes miss the magic. I think many styles of mothering can work if you give them ample love and attention.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:31:41

RebeccaMumsnet

Hi Emma, First I would like to say a massive "Thank you" really loved Room.

Secondly, following on the 'feeling like a bad mother' theme, this para really shook me and actually made me cry. Was the intention to make the reader re-look at the world through an innocents eyes? Because if it was then this was the point that it really clicked with me, if not .... as you were.

(I hope you don't mind me quoting, but I think it is a poignant point in the story)

"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 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 cute, they make the kids do the things 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."

Ah, I'm really glad you like those passages because some reviewers have quoted them as examples of social critique that the author is clearly inserting in Jack's mouth. Whereas it seems to me that if you interviewed the average five-year-old, they would say that adults are always busy and don't play enough... I had no particular message to broadcast in ROOM, I just tried to think hard about how someone like Jack would see our world.

MrsDrOwenHunt Wed 16-Feb-11 20:33:57

loved your book and couldnt put it down, i have a 5 year old and am myself guilty of not being like ma!

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:34:30

Blatherskite

I expected the shopping mall to be really scary for Jack, for all the noises and people to send him screaming for his Ma or curled up in a ball unable to cope with the huge amount of (can't think of a better word) input. Especially after we learn that he doesn't like lots of people talking over one another in the hospital.

I was a bit shocked when the worst that happened was a bit of shoplifting...

Yes, Jack is a very resilient character; I suppose I'm suggesting that a few days in the Outside have taught him a lot fast. Also, that the stressful aspects of a visit to the mall might be at least temporarily outweighed by all the things he would find exciting. I think the fact that he is visually familiar with the world from watching TV allows him to try out new spaces that you might expect would make him curl up in a ball... Still, an ill-advised expedition, but haven't we all ended up in ghastly scenes in public when we kidded ourselves we could 'pop in' for one quick thing?

BoffinMum Wed 16-Feb-11 20:35:46

You used a trip to a shopping mall with the uncle and aunt as some kind of plot device but I am not quite sure what that signified. Could you elaborate for me please?

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:36:52

MayorNaze

i did enjoy this book

am posting and running but will try and return...

i was really interested in the sense of routine that the girl managed to establish and how she incorporated manners, education and exercise into their lifestyle, despite there only ever being the two of them. a way of maintaining sanity or a way of hanging onto the hope that they would some day live outside of Room? she (whether through necessity or her natural character) seemed to respond to her situation in a very "sensible" manner, if that makes sense confused?

Both. Most of the habits Ma teaches Jack, just like the breastfeeding, are good for them in several ways. So the running races, for instance, keeps him fit, keeps her fit, is fun, relieves tension, and also prepares him for the day he'll need to escape. I wanted to suggest though Ma that mothering is pretty instinctive, if you pay attention; that without having read any manuals, she'll figure out what Jack needs. A lot of the research I read about families suggested that ritual and routine are crucial.

BoffinMum Wed 16-Feb-11 20:37:06

xposts

I meant, was this meant to say something sinister about the uncle and aunt and their apparent introspection, or am I reading too much into it?

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:38:37

BoffinMum

You used a trip to a shopping mall with the uncle and aunt as some kind of plot device but I am not quite sure what that signified. Could you elaborate for me please?

I wouldn't call it a plot device, just a fairly representative element of life in North America... Of course Jack should have been brought walking in woods instead, but life's not like that, it includes shopping. And when his Grandma does bring him to the beach, he finds it just as stressful as the mall, and more disappointing!

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:39:56

BoffinMum

xposts

I meant, was this meant to say something sinister about the uncle and aunt and their apparent introspection, or am I reading too much into it?

Not sinister exactly, but yeah, they get it wrong. Isn't it possible you would, too, if a family member returned from the dead with a weird five-year-old, and you had to figure out how to spend the day with him?

BoffinMum Wed 16-Feb-11 20:40:28

I think it was the fact he didn't get to the dinosaurs made me very sad as over here in the UK this would be considered a massive mistake by many parents in such a sensitive situation.

LordVolAuVent Wed 16-Feb-11 20:41:09

is there a book you would recommend without hesitation to anyone?

BoffinMum Wed 16-Feb-11 20:41:11

I suppose being an educationalist I would hope to have an idea what to do, but you may well be right.

BoffinMum Wed 16-Feb-11 20:41:58

Are your characters still with you, and if so, how is Ma doing?

lockets Wed 16-Feb-11 20:42:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I just want to call out to anyone who posted earlier who feels their question hasn't been answered yet - quite a lot of Emma's answers have covered several people's messages, but if you feel yours hasn't yet been looked at then do shout!

There are a few that I've spotted at the beginning of the thread:

ohmydear Wed 16-Feb-11 10:48:20
what age is this aimed at? adults or adults and older children?

drivingmisscrazy Tue 15-Feb-11 21:37:31
I don't know quite how to put this question but perhaps should contextualise it by saying that I am also a lesbian parent...I wondered if the absence of a father figure (and the separation that is clearly made between biology and social role in relation to Old Nick) was in some sense a representation of queer parenting - the focus on the maternal bond, the exclusion of the outside world? The wonderful effort at moving outside of social norms for parenting? At some kind of symbolic level?

deepdarkwood Tue 15-Feb-11 13:56:37

- it's such a quick, easy read - as an author do you see any problems with that? I almost felt that I wanted to have to slow down and consider a bit more (I am a dreadful person for reading too fast anyway!)
- what research did you do into captive behaviours, and into the treatment of people coming out of these sorts of experiences. The hospital seemed unforgivably naive to me, but maybe that's the reality when people deal with these situations so infrequently.

Apologies, Emma, if you're already answering these ones..

mummylouise Wed 16-Feb-11 20:43:07

Hi Emma,

Really loved the book.

Was the pressure from the media a key factor in Ma's suicide attempt?

Thank you

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:44:41

TillyBookClub

Emma, a number of people have asked about your research - did you read a lot about captive situations? Or discuss it with psychologists? I thought the doctor was very well drawn and wondered if he might be based on a real person?

(suddenly realised that the answer you gave to my initial question - 'write to the limits of your imagination' - might mean you didn't do any of the above...)

No no, I always do a lot of research, I just meant that you don't have to stick to what you know from personal experience beforehand, you can expand what you know by various methods! In the case of ROOM I did a great deal of research online. I rarely interview individuals (except I did ask my brother-in-law about the construction of Room, and he volunteered some great details such as the fence built into the walls.) Mostly I speed-read lot of different texts - in the case of ROOM, that included news sites, message boards, research papers by psychologists, studies of children in prison, solitary confinement, the websites of psychiatric clinics, case histories on www.feralchildren.com, discussion groups of people conceived through rape... all sorts of things, including many horrors.

GlynistheGimmer Wed 16-Feb-11 20:45:32

I'm with you BoffinMum about the dinosaurs!

I was so upset for Jack, seeing those is such a right of passage for some kids...and he would remember that for the rest of his life sad

Tricky45 Wed 16-Feb-11 20:47:38

Meant to add to my original question that they also commented that they felt you must be a multiple to be able to capture the child voice so well

1RED Wed 16-Feb-11 20:47:56

Congratulations Emma on writing a book that myself, my 12 year old son, 10 year old daughter and practically all my friends have found totally compelling to read.
This book was the reason a group of us have set up a book club. It's certainly one that has got everyone talking!
Just wanted to say thank you.

Rhadegunde Wed 16-Feb-11 20:52:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:52:58

TillyBookClub

I just want to call out to anyone who posted earlier who feels their question hasn't been answered yet - quite a lot of Emma's answers have covered several people's messages, but if you feel yours hasn't yet been looked at then do shout!

There are a few that I've spotted at the beginning of the thread:

ohmydear Wed 16-Feb-11 10:48:20
what age is this aimed at? adults or adults and older children?

drivingmisscrazy Tue 15-Feb-11 21:37:31
I don't know quite how to put this question but perhaps should contextualise it by saying that I am also a lesbian parent...I wondered if the absence of a father figure (and the separation that is clearly made between biology and social role in relation to Old Nick) was in some sense a representation of queer parenting - the focus on the maternal bond, the exclusion of the outside world? The wonderful effort at moving outside of social norms for parenting? At some kind of symbolic level?
Mm, I think Ma's parenting is certainly queer in the broad sense of the world, in that she's following her own sense of what's natural, irrespective of social norms. And I do feel strongly that biology, although it can be important, can be overestimated; the biological link between Ma and Jack, for instance, matters a great deal in ROOM and the biological link between Old Nick and Jack, hardly at all.
But ROOM isn't any kind of women-and-kids-don't-need-men statement... That's one reason I made Jack a boy, so that the story wouldn't get read as a rejection of the male. Hm, wish I had some more time for this fascinating question...

deepdarkwood Tue 15-Feb-11 13:56:37

- it's such a quick, easy read - as an author do you see any problems with that? I almost felt that I wanted to have to slow down and consider a bit more (I am a dreadful person for reading too fast anyway!)

I'm a dreadfully fast reader myself, I miss all sorts of subtleties because of dashing through, but then I always remind myself it's a massive compliment to a novel if I find myself gorging on it! No, I'm very happy that so many people are reading ROOM fast because it suggests they are responding to it so passionately, taking it personally. And they certainly don't all find it easy. Some are put right off by the 'Dora-speak', others find it makes them so tense they have to break off and check out the last page... Every reader reads a different book, really.

- what research did you do into captive behaviours, and into the treatment of people coming out of these sorts of experiences. The hospital seemed unforgivably naive to me, but maybe that's the reality when people deal with these situations so infrequently.

Apologies, Emma, if you're already answering these ones..

Do shout, indeed, as the number of posts is wonderfully overwhelming!
Re: the hospital, I don't think any institution can have much experience of such cases because they're so extraordinarily rare. And each one is different. For instance, the Fritzls were clearly in really poor health on release, whereas Ma and Jack present as healthy and sane... but have some hidden issues.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:55:02

Who it's aimed at: adults, officially, but I always had in mind that anyone from about 10 up should be able to read it. Certainly I know a lot of teens who have done, and it's won an American Library Association award for being an adult title that crosses over to a teen audience.

cakeywakey Wed 16-Feb-11 20:55:58

Hi Emma and Tilly, just wanted to repost my questions from earlier:

I thought that it was a deceptively simple story - it must have been so hard to make it seem so Emma.

I agree with other posters that some of the family Outsiders seemed too blase about his ordeal - surely they would have been more considerate of his situation? Or is their behaviour something you've picked up from your research? ^I'm one of the people who finds it hard to forgive Grandma by the way grin.

And, sneaky question number two. In your acknowledgements you mention that your Brother-In-Law was scarily practical about the set-up of Room. In what way?

I have to add to the messages about how convincing and brilliant Jack is - my eldest son is a 5 year old called Jack, he has the same propensity to come out with long, complicated words whilst getting the simple grammar mixed up; he has that child's joie de vivre that seems inate inside (and that is what I loved about your character, his interest and excitement in the world); and he doesn't see why adults shouldn't play 24 hours a day.

As you said, I think Jack's comment about parents in the Outside not paying attention would come from any child - it would be my son's dream come true to be locked up with me exclusively with no-one to distract my attention. I thought the way you handled his (relative) happiness with being in Room was extraordinarily insightful and exactly right.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:56:13

Tricky45

Meant to add to my original question that they also commented that they felt you must be a multiple to be able to capture the child voice so well

Fascinating! I'm not a multiple but perhaps any writer has a certain capacity to invent other selves...

cakeforbrains Wed 16-Feb-11 20:56:26

I loved this book, I read it a couple of weeks ago but I keep coming back to it.

I was wondering about the moments in the room when Ma goes into herself and sleeps and Jack watches TV all day - are they moments of mental breakdown or is Ma experimenting with painkillers to see how many she needs for the later suicide attempt? Ma seems so motivated by Jack's wellbeing that I was surprised she'd be (mentally) absent from him.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 20:57:04

Dinosaurs: calm down, I think I do specify in a one-line reference that he does get to see them later on! But he's disappointed they're only bones; he'd been expecting live ones.

stroopwafel Wed 16-Feb-11 20:57:42

Thanks for the free copy and sending it over here to NL! I received it a few days ago, and despite not being able to put it down, I haven't quite finished it yet.
Just wanted to say thanks Emma for an absolutely absorbing read; very thought provoking and compelling to follow Jack on his journey into the 'Outside'. I also struggled with the story written from his perspective at first, but am finding him so endearing, and it doesnt take long to get used to it!
Thanks again x

PaisleyLeaf Wed 16-Feb-11 20:58:38

"it would be my son's dream come true to be locked up with me exclusively with no-one to distract my attention"

so true.

Yesgotmyhandsfull Wed 16-Feb-11 20:59:35

I agree. I'm sure it wasn't a specific message you wanted to emphasise but after reading Room it certainly made me challenge my normal behaviour of 'just go and play whilst Mummy finishes this' and actually got stuck into some silly fun with my young sons. So it's given me a fresh perspective on parenting, to really appreciate what we have. smile

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 21:00:28

cakeywakey

Hi Emma and Tilly, just wanted to repost my questions from earlier:

I thought that it was a deceptively simple story - it must have been so hard to make it seem so Emma.

I agree with other posters that some of the family Outsiders seemed too blase about his ordeal - surely they would have been more considerate of his situation? Or is their behaviour something you've picked up from your research? ^I'm one of the people who finds it hard to forgive Grandma by the way grin.

And, sneaky question number two. In your acknowledgements you mention that your Brother-In-Law was scarily practical about the set-up of Room. In what way?

I don't think the Outsiders are blase, exactly, I think they're stunned - deeply uncomfortable with the whole situation, and slightly repelled by Jack (which is why the uncle and aunt don't bring their daughter along on day one). So I was trying to suggest that when they say facile or awkward or inconsiderate things, it's their attempt to keep things feeling even halfway normal while in the back of their minds they keep up a running chorus of omigodthispoorkid!!!

Re: Jeff my brother-in-law, what scared me was when he started ringing me up and volunteering things about Old Nick's behaviour. 'Your psycho's gotta make her use cloth diapers', he said on one occasion, and on another, 'He won't let her have an extractor fan in case the neighbours smell spicy food...' I think he quite enjoyed channelling his inner tyrant!

BoffinMum Wed 16-Feb-11 21:02:25

My mind is at rest now I knew he saw them! grin

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 21:02:29

cakeforbrains

I loved this book, I read it a couple of weeks ago but I keep coming back to it.

I was wondering about the moments in the room when Ma goes into herself and sleeps and Jack watches TV all day - are they moments of mental breakdown or is Ma experimenting with painkillers to see how many she needs for the later suicide attempt? Ma seems so motivated by Jack's wellbeing that I was surprised she'd be (mentally) absent from him.

Ah, no, I don't think she's experimenting with painkillers or coldbloodedly practising for suicide, just withdrawing into herself. It seemed to me that all mothers making bargains, and hers might be 'I don't have to get up today, but tomorrow I'll be 100 per cent again...'

BoffinMum Wed 16-Feb-11 21:03:50

I am intrigued to know what Ma would have done if he grew out of the wardrobe. But I have already asked a lot of questions.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 21:04:43

Elly68

Emma- why did you decide that Ma should try to take her own life in hospital? She always fought to protect Jack and then when they finally reached the 'outside' she was constantly trying to make him see how wonderful everything could be...

It's not just a cheap plot device (though of course it is handy for making Jack start growing up faster, a forced separation). It was based on my research into solitary confinement in US jails: very often there's a delayed, catastrophic breakdown, years later. I didn't want to underestimate Ma's pain but suggesting that she's just fine now; it made sense to me that she would let herself fall apart at the point when there are other people around to take care of Jack. It is hard for readers to forgive her, but I wanted to suggest that no mother is perfect after all...

I can't believe we've come to 9pm already - it went like a flash...

Many apologies to those whose questions didn't get answered, it's been such a busy webchat this evening. And please do carry on chatting about the book on this thread.

Emma, thank you for a fascinating and hugely enjoyable evening, and for answering so many questions so speedily. Your book has been a stand-out, spectacular read for so many of us. Please do come back with your next book - we're all looking forward to whatever you do next immensely...

Many thanks again.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 21:06:01

PaisleyLeaf

With 2 children, how/when do you write?
Do you set yourself office hours?

My career absolutely depends on daycare. 9 to 3 Monday to Friday, and I treasure every minute of it!

lockets Wed 16-Feb-11 21:07:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 21:07:47

pommedeterre

I'd like to know why we don't ever hear Ma's real name used? Jack can process other names but not his Ma's. Is it to show that he really cannot picture her except as a mother?

I loved it - one of those books where you want to carry on reading about the characters forever and feel so sad when it ends.

I loved Jack's attachment to Room in his memory as well.

Did Emma ever consider including a map of Room with the book?

There's a map/diagram on the US publishers website, www.roomthebook.com

And as for why Ma never gets a name... I did really try to pick one for her, but none of them sounded right, and I finally realised that it's because Jack didn't want to say what it was, because to him she'll always be Ma.

pillowcase Wed 16-Feb-11 21:08:19

Hi
Great book!

Just wondering how long you lived with the idea of Room before you put pen to paper? And how long did it take you to write it?
thanks

EmmaDonoghue Wed 16-Feb-11 21:08:57

This has been enormously satisfying, thanks everyone! Going to have dinner with two friends and their new baby now...
all the best and thanks so much for putting so much energy into reading and discussing my book!
Emma
www.emmadonoghue.com

Yesgotmyhandsfull Wed 16-Feb-11 21:09:00

I think she's an 'Ali'.

lockets Wed 16-Feb-11 21:09:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cakeywakey Wed 16-Feb-11 21:16:01

Thanks Emma and thanks Tilly, great chat. What are we reading next?

Haribojoe Wed 16-Feb-11 21:20:53

First time I have posted a question and read the live book discussion, really enjoyed it.

Thanks for a great read and interesting discussion.

Looking forward to the next one smile

cakeywakey, we have the highly controversial THE SLAP as our March Book of the Month - the thread and page will be live tomorrow morning. And the author, Christos Tsiolkas, will be joining us on Wednesday March 23 for the author chat.

Just want to say thanks to everyone here for a brilliant discussion night - the best yet, I think...

Also wondering who has given it to their husband/male friend/boyfirend and what was their reaction? Were they as affected by the relationship as you were? Is it quite a female read, do you think?

lockets Wed 16-Feb-11 21:23:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mychildrenarebarmy Wed 16-Feb-11 21:24:44

Oh phooey. I knew there was something I was planning to do tonight. I loved the book and wanted to join in with the discussion.

deepdarkwood Wed 16-Feb-11 21:30:38

I forgot this and went for a run blush Thanks Emma - and thanks Tilly for reposting my questions so thoughtfully! Will defn suggest this to my RL bookgroup...

Haribojoe Wed 16-Feb-11 21:36:39

The Slap is on my list of books to read, brilliant grin

Tricky45 Wed 16-Feb-11 21:41:30

Ooh The Slap, excellent. I read it, cant wait for the chat on this one!!

elkiedee Wed 16-Feb-11 22:01:25

I had to go and settle my toddler in the middle of the discussion, but thanks for such an interesting one.

gailforce1 Wed 16-Feb-11 22:09:24

TILLY - The Slap is on my list of books to read so looking forward to it. Unfortunately I was out tonight but have read through the thread and agree that it was the best yet. I think that the book choices so far this year have been excellent so thank you!

kirriemummy Wed 16-Feb-11 22:38:20

Loved this book so much, but missed the discussion unfortunately!

I've read the discussion through now and thought that the questions and answers were exactly what I would have asked - so thank you everyone! I was particularly happy about the answers from Emma on why Ma was adopted and what she said about Steppa not wanting to make it a 'only women can parent' book, and championing the idea that the love and nurturing children is more important than traditional family roles.

I also thought that the person who said it seemed to be inspired by traditional fairy tales struck on a really interesting point.

I think that Ma is an absolutely inspiring character and it would do a lot of new mums much more good to read this rather than the umpteenth parenting guide sold to them!

I've handed my husband the book now, and am waiting for him to (slowly) read it before I can find out if it is more of a female or male book!

I admit I was desperate to read Room for about 6 months before I got it for christmas, and it lived up to my expectations - I'm feeling a bit less enthusiastic about the slap but this has been such a good experience this month I'll give it a go!

moodymama Thu 17-Feb-11 09:21:03

From the comments/reviews on Amazon about The Slap, I think I'll give it a miss.

Coca Thu 17-Feb-11 10:22:39

Arrghh! Missed the discussion yesterday.
I loved Room. This may seem bonkers but there were times when they were still in Room that I really envied Ma and Jack. Obviously I don't mean their captivity and the repeated rape but the bond they have, Ma's strength, Jack's innocence and the simple things that made Jack happy. It reminded me of some parts of my childhood when we were expats in a very poor country. My own Mother was also really resourceful with keeping us all entertained and stimulated. I envy that as I find it all too easy to pander to my dcs' advert driven demands for all manner of plastic crap. Funnily enough Mum was sometines Gone.

The book made me look at myself as a mother. I'm the coffe shop mum and my DH and I have a tendancy to be Paul and his wife. We argue over such trivial things without realising how stressful it must be for the dcs.

Thank you so much for the book, The characters were all so human, flawed but full of thier own strengh.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 17-Feb-11 22:20:45

If you've not yet read the book, or want to buy a copy for a friend, Picador have joined up with Waterstones.com to offer a last half-price offer - buy Room for just 3.99 incl. P + P - offer is open until 23rd Feb only so do spread the word.

Bump ;)

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