Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Room: A Novel vs. the 1998 Best Foreign Film (directed by Benigni)
Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
Where to buy in Colorado:
Boulder Book Store 1107 Pearl
Tatter Cover on Colfax, Highland Ranch, or Lodo in Denver
There's been a pile of press surrounding Emma Donoghue's book ROOM. It's certainly a "ripped from the headlines" type of tale, reminding me of the California tragedy when a girl was held hostage in a couple's backyard shack for several years.
ROOM is told from the POV of Jack, a five-year-old boy who was born the second year of his ma's seven year captivity. Jack has never seen anything beyond the eleven-by-eleven room where they are held, but he is none too bothered by the the living situation; it's all he knows and his mother has gently framed the circumstances.
Somehow, the sweet way ROOM is told (and Jack's innocent understanding) reminds me of one of my favorite movies: Life is Beautiful by director Roberto Benigni. This 1998 Academy Award winning foreign film depicts an Italian Jewish father who is forced with his son into a German concentration camp. The son is young and does not speak German, so instead of relaying the terrifying situation accurately, the father purposefully mis-translates the German guards' scary threats. He tells his son they are on an adventure and everything is a games. He invents inaccurate and hilarious translations to replace the vile things that are truly said. Although the subject matter is dark and bleak, I found myself laughing throughout the film. ROOM is handled in a similar manner.
ROOM offers much to enjoy. There is a certain sweetness to the book as well as fantastic moments of tension and excitement.
ROOM was released September 13, 2010 by Little Brown and Company. It is available hardback with a list price of $24.99.
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