Room by Emma Donoghue

Jack has never left Room, where he has lived with his mother since the day he was born 5 years ago, but now it might be time for them to attempt an escape into a world that Jack can’t even imagine.

I’m late in the game reading Room, and I confess I resisted it for a long time because the quotes I read seemed just too precious. What finally piqued my curiosity was learning that the novel depicted extended breastfeeding from the child’s point of view, and in a positive way. I am a La Leche League Leader and IBCLC, and am still nursing my 3.5 year old. I was profoundly moved by the way she portrayed their nursing relationship, and Jack’s ultimate weaning. It was tender and beautiful and not at all exploitative. You understand that Ma nursed Jack to 5 because they were stuck in that room, and once you pass a certain point with breastfeeding, you need lots of distractions available if you’re going to wean before the child wants to. That said, there was nothing pathological about their nursing relationship, despite the oddness of their circumstance. When Ma finally did tell him “n more,” Jack could handle it, and his goodbye scene was just beautifully written. Such a far cry from the way that extended breastfeeding is often dealt with in books and movies (I’m looking at you, Sweetrobin Arryn).

And as for the rest of the story, wow, it’s a stunner. Fabulous, creepy premise, perfect execution. Suspenseful and poignant and multi-faceted. And the protagonist’s voice never falters. I loved it completely.

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