Reviews: Room ... I Came to Say Goodbye ... Fragile

Room by Emma Donoghue
The story of a mother, her son, a locked room and the outside world. Jack is five and, like any little boy, excited at the prospect of presents and cake. He's looking forward to telling his friends it's his birthday, too. But although Jack is a normal child in many ways ... loving, funny, bright, full of energy and questions ... his upbringing is far from ordinary. Jack's entire life has been spent in a single room that measures just 12 feet by 12 feet, as far as he's concerned, Room is the entire world.

He shares this world with his mother, with Plant, and tiny Mouse (though Ma isn't a fan and throws a book at Mouse when she sees him). There's TV and the cartoon characters he thinks of as his friends. But Jack knows that nothing else he sees on the screen is real. Old Nick, on the other hand, is all too real, but only visits at night when Jack is meant to be asleep and hidden safely in Wardrobe. And only Old Nick has the code to Door, which is otherwise locked.  Told in Jack's voice, Room is the story of a mother's love for her son, and of a young boy's innocence.
About Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1969 and is the youngest of eight children. She has a first-class honours Bachelor of Arts degree from University College Dublin (in English and French) and a PhD in English from the University of Cambridge. Her thesis was on friendship between men and women in 18th century fiction. While in Cambridge she lived in a women's co-op, an experience which inspired her short story "The Welcome". In 1998 she moved to Canada and became a Canadian citizen in 2004. She lives in London, Ontario with her partner and their two children.
Two Thumbs Up
One of those books that renders you speechless. I was expecting this book to be a shocking account of life in captivity but I couldn't have been further from the truth. The book was an increadible birds eye view of a mother's quest to protect her child at all costs. In a seemingly hopeless environment, in a place where anyone could have easily lost their will to live, Jack's mother motivates, educates and creates a world within 'the real world' where her son can grow up to be as well ajusted as possible, despite the circumstances. I was totally in awe of Jack's mother, inspired by her ability to establish a routine for her child and her strength to undertake the most terrifying event of both their lives. There is not much more I can say about Room without giving too much away, but if you read nothing else this year, you MUST read this book. This book will feature very highly in my top ten this year.

I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington
It was four o'clock in the morning. A young woman pushed through the hospital doors. Staff would later say they thought the woman was a new mother, returning to her child, and in a way, she was. She walked into the nursery, where a baby girl lay sleeping. The infant didn't wake when the woman placed her gently in the shopping bag she had brought with her. There is CCTV footage of what happened next, and most Australians would have seen it, either on the internet or the news. The woman walked out to the car park, towards an old Corolla. For a moment, she held the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smelled her. She then clipped the infant into the car, got in and drove off. That is where the footage ends. It isn't where the story ends, however. It's not even where the story starts.

About Caroline Overington
Born in May 1970, Caroline grew up in Melton, Victoria where she attended Melton South Primary School and Melton High School. Post secondary school she began her journalism cadetship with The Age Suburban Newspapers. She later took up a position as sports writer with The Age. In 2002 she moved to New York to become a foreign correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Following her return to Australia, Caroline took up a position as senior journalist with News Ltd. working at The Australian. Caroline continues as a journalist and columnist for The Australian. She contributes to both television and radio at various times. Caroline now lives in Sydney with her husband and two children.

Two Thumbs Up
I Came to Say Goodbye is confronting, shocking and raises many concepts about love, fear, inadequacy, guilt ... all of the emotions many have, do & will face as parents. Med Atley is dealing with a daughter (Fat) who has never been 'right', he loves her unconditionally but he worries about the choices she makes in life. Med respects Fat's right to live her life but her behaviour triggers a chain of events that will have an impact on everyone in Fat's family and an unreversable impact on her new born baby, Seth. Caroline Overington presents a no holds barred story that tackles topical societal issues ... child abuse, mental illness, severe physical disabilities and how these matters, tragically, continue to be mismanaged in today's society. What a gem from a local Australian author. This book blew me away.

Fragile by Lisa Unger
In this stunning new stand-alone psychological thriller, Lisa Unger examines the small town secrets exposed when a teenager goes missing in circumstances similar to another young girl's disappearance twenty years before."But how do you know he didn't hurt her?" Jones asks his wife, Maggie anguished when their son's girlfriend, Charlene, vanishes. Eerie parallels soon emerge between this disappearance and the abduction that shook their community years ago. Maggie can hardly believe that her husband, a police officer, suspects Ricky of causing Charlene's disappearance. Ricky is his father's son in all the most important ways and she suddenly realizes that might be exactly what Jones fears. In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene's disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret-one that could destroy everything she holds dear. This thrilling novel about one community's intricate yet fragile bonds will leave readers asking, How well do I know the people I love? And how far would I go to protect them?

About Lisa Unger
Lisa Unger is an award winning New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. Her novels have been published in over 26 countries around the world. She was born in New Haven, Connecticut (1970) but grew up in the Netherlands, England and New Jersey. A graduate of the New School for Social Research, Lisa spent many years living and working in New York City. She then left a career in publicity to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time author. She now lives in Florida with her husband and daughter.

An OK plot, an OK story with OK characters. Nothing too eath shattering, nothing I haven't read or watched before but Lisa Unger was able to keep me interested enough to stay awake on my long communtes to the store and I did want to know what "happens" even though I did have most of it figured out before it was revealed. I am sounding critical and perhaps it is extremely unfair that I am reviewing Fragile at the same time as Room and I Came to Say Goodbye, but such is life!

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