Date: 6/21/2012 3:22:00 PM
I telling a story inspired from the Fritzl case, Emma Donoghue sets herself a very difficult task – of telling the story from the POV of a five-year-old Jack who was born in captivity. For Jack, the only reality is the eleven by eleven room – outside is outer space and everything on TV is not real. Donoghue does a very brave thing by sticking very close to the child and not giving us any clue about the “reality” of the situation. And, she captures the boundless joy a child can experience even in the midst of the dreadful situation they are captured in. Jack's voice is one you can hear commenting about everything around you while you are reading the novel – even later. That voice is the biggest achievement of the novel.
The same voice – and POV – becomes a problem when the author tries to capture how he and the mother are responding to the Outside, once they are free. One is left with a feeling that the transition is too smooth, only hinting at the troubles they would face. The anxiety never gets the capital A that Rug, Bed, Wall etc. get. The limits of a five-year-old cannot, probably, capture what the mother is going through – or the author did not want more pain than was absolutely necessary in the later parts of the novel.
Though the end is very fitting and satisfying. Beautiful read – if you can handle the pain.