"Room" by Emma Donoghue: Did a Book Change My Weekend and Make Me a Better Mom?

For the From Left to Write Book Club we read "Room" by Emma Donoghue, a novel written from the perspective of a five year-old boy living in captivity with his mother, who was abducted when she was 19 years old and has been held for seven years. This post is inspired by that book.

Our life is constantly overbooked. It's often hard for us to enjoy a day of just being together. When I feel the most overwhelmed I have these visions of living somewhere far away, in a private place, where we don't have to share our time with anyone else. Just William. And then he'd be safe from the outside world, totally protected. Just us.

And then I read "Room." I was horrified. I cried. I was angry. It's not as if I haven't heard stories like this before. We've all been intrigued by the painful, outrageous, disturbing stories of a captured woman's rescue, often with children she bore while living in captivity. Reading an in-depth (although fictionalized) account of this life was terribly hard.

But, I have to admit, there was a little piece of me that yearned for the closeness between this mother and son. I feel crazy admitting this, I do. Under all the suffocation and cruelty of their life, the love between a mother and a son was what kept me turning each page. Life between the two of them was intimate and honest. They only had each other.

This is all likely due to the limited time I feel like I see my own son and as I'm ramping up for my busy season at work it will only get less and less. I miss a lot of time with him and I've been frustrated knowing that in the next couple of months it will be worse.

I was supposed to miss even more time this weekend, but reading "Room" and a nasty chest cold made me reconsider traveling for work. A Saturday morning appointment at the pediatrician resulted in breathing treatments and a warning to keep a close eye out for a fever. I couldn't leave. So, I prioritized and traveling to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for work didn't have a chance in the face of the slightest possibility of pneumonia.

Did reading "Room" make me want to stay closer, hold him tighter, know him best of all? Maybe. I try to do it all and that usually means that if I think Matt is fine on his own, I head out. But, this time I couldn't. So, I stayed home, wiped his runny nose, made him cookies, and spent a lot of time reading this book.

This post was inspired by the book "Room" by Emma Donoghue, which I received complimentary as a part of From Left to Write Book Club. See how other bloggers were inspired by this book here.


Zen Mama Wannabe said...

I too often wish I could "turn off" the world and just stay hidden - just me and my kids. Sometimes the outside world (ie. LIFE) just seems to take over and I miss that alone time, that closeness, that bond -- those feelings you get when you are just with each other (with no one else to distract or disturb).

And sometimes I think getting sick is Life's way of telling us to slow down and spend that quiet Home time that we often so desperately need, even if we're way to busy to think that ourselves. Glad you got some down time - to just be (and read). Good post!

Linsey K / Me Too You / From Left to Write said...

I thought a lot about the TIME Jack and Ma had in this book. I sometimes long for the ability to just focus on my house and my kids, without other distractions (work, life, etc.). Just think - I COULD homeschool and have it be successful. But you're right - this is not anything we would ever truly want.

Taking time to focus on your family is different, though. Making that CHOICE is important. Relish the time :)

Anonymous said...

I was reading the last few pages of ROOM this morning when my daughter came to be with a can of playdough. I normally cringe away from playdough because of how much of a pain in the behind it is to clean (even on hard surfaces) and the fact that I don't like the smell... Jack and his Ma inspired me to suck it up and let her play, and then I got in there and played with her too. Smelly playdough and all. :) I like to sometimes just turn it all off and just be with my kids. The laundry can wait, the books can wait, the cleaning can wait... I gotta play with my kids.

Great post!

April said...

I think we can all relate a little to that feeling of wanting more quality time with our kids. I loved that she still managed to give them a routine, to teach him as much as she could, and he did thrive so much. Yes, a great reminder to all us moms about what they want and need most of all; time with us!