posted by Andrea Perry
When I think of patriotic things I am reminded of an old phrase that goes something like this: "...as American as apple pie, motherhood, and the 4th of July..." Or was the third thing fireworks, or the American flag? I'm not sure, but I am sure that when I think of motherhood, I am reminded of a book I read recently that I could not put down from the moment I read the first line, "Today I am five."
ROOM is the story of Jack, now officially five years old, who along with his mother has lived his entire life (!) in Room, an 11" by 11" place with Bath, Wardrobe, Duvet, Table, Skylight, Door, Rocker, Dresser and what turns out to be most ominous, Outside. Not only does your curiosity about why these two are confined to Room make this book a page turner, but more riveting is Jack's voice, as the book is told entirely from his point of view.
" I cried so my eyes nearly melted off."
"Ma plays with Tank too long but not too long. She gets sick of things fast, it's from being an adult."
"What started Baby Jesus growing in Mary's tummy was an angel zoomed down, like a ghost but a really cool one with feathers. Mary was all surprised, she said, "How can this be?" and then, "OK, let it be." When Baby Jesus popped out of her vagina on Christmas she put him in a manger but not for the cows to chew, only warm him up with their blowing because he was magic."
Who among us has not heard time and time again over the years that editors are always looking for that 'voice'? I can't remember ever hearing a more compelling voice than Jack's. We learn all about Jack and his Ma's world through Jack's observations and in particular what Ma goes through to make their 11" by 11" life bearable. How is she able to do it? And can she continue to do it?
"Today is one of the days when Ma is Gone. She won't wake up properly. She's here but not really. She stays in Bed with the pillows on her head."
Dare I say this story was 'ripped from the headlines' when we have all just heard about Jaycee Dugard? Mothers are out there who are driven to do incredible things, and thank goodness for their children. I encourage you to pick up this book to learn about the power of motherhood, as well as to listen to Jack's voice.