To be honest, I thought finding a great book to honor motherhood would be easier. Having read so many books, I wondered how I would be able to chose the best one. I went to my trusty list and quickly found that most of the books I have read don’t seem to showcase great mothering skills. And that’s putting it kindly. In fact, it seems the opposite is true: many books quite frankly are “mother bashers”.
By way of example, here is how the search through my book list went. “Lolita”? No. “The Divine Secrets of the YaYa sisterhood?” Ummm NO. “The Glass Castle?” Hell no! I think you get the point.
But recently I read a very interesting novel called “Room” by Emma Donoghue. This book mostly takes place in an 11 by 11 room. It is told in the first person by Jack a 5 year old boy who has lived in Room for his entire life. His mother has been a prisioner there for 7 years since she was captured at age 19 by a man referred to as Old Nick.
It sounds grim doesn’t it? I reached out to my friend, Gary, who recommended it to me about halfway through the book with this text: “Tell me, can I handle this book? It’s so sad?!”
Without spoiling it, Jack and his mother DO get out of Room and deal with a major transformation into the outside world. The transition is very difficult since it so different from the controlled and protected world they created in Room. Jack actually prefers his life in Room and longs to go back to the comfort of it. In one scene, his doctor is trying to convince him how much better it is in the outside world and Jack thinks: “I don’t say because of manners but actually he has it backwards. In Room I was safe and outside is scary.”
I recommend this book to readers and clubs because it is different. Although somewhat dark at times it has a hopeful ending and will create a great discussion about how we create our environment and what is truly scary in the world. In the end, it is a book with a great mother role model, and that, it seems puts it in rare company.
Happy Mother’s Day!