I wanted to try a blog post from the iPad, so here goes. Usually I post from my laptop.
I LOVE ♥ the touch screen! I also love reading on the iPad. First book read: Room. (I wanted to start with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but it’s not available from Apple. Then I thought I’d read Freedom, but after I downloaded the free 40 page preview, I found it was so insufferable I couldn’t imagine reading the entire thing.
So I went with Room since there’s been. so. much. hype. Also because I wanted to read something short-listed for the Man Booker award to see what other people consider to be good literature these days. Even though the idea of picking something, anything, and calling it THE best book of the year is preposterous to me.
I can’t figure out how to write about the book without spoilers. Room was a compelling quick read and I really wanted to know what would happen next. Parts of it were very clever and believable. And heart-breaking.
Parts of it were not — it’s next to impossible to tell a story like this from a five year old’s viewpoint, I think, without making the kid’s perceptions sound phony — like a grown-up pretending to think and talk like a five year old.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time does a much better job, I think, of getting into the head of a child in a believable way.
What I appreciated most about the book — even though the author never acknowledged it in the book itself or in the interview I heard tonight on NPR — was the use of real happenings as a jumping-off point for a fictional story. I was one of the millions of people who followed the Elisabeth Fritzl story and wondered how the family was able to survive their horrendous ordeal.
Room offered some possible answers, and that is, I think, its strength.
Okay, *SPOILER ALERT* ahead. You’ve been warned.
Once Jack and his mother escape, telling the story from Jack’s perspective simply doesn’t work. It’s a struggle for a reader to try to fit inside Jack’s head when his head doesn’t (or shouldn’t) wrap around reality — particularly what his mother is going through — with an adult sensibility — and that’s what comes across, an adult sensibility, not a five year old. So the disconnect is unsatisfying in a story which is already unsettling enough, especially since we know there are at least a couple of ‘real life’ versions of this story hanging around out there in the world….
I wish part of the story at least had been written from the mother’s point of view.
Gah. I wanted to post from the iPad. Now I find myself searching for my pacifier, my Nuk, my mouse — and it’s not part of the iPad experience. I know — I’ll learn, I’ll adjust.
But maybe not tonight. It’s a leetle hard for me to edit a wordpress post from the iPad, so please enjoy the haphazard mix of past and present tenses and don’t get whiplash as you careen from one to the other.