Posts Tagged ‘refreshing’

Room

April 18, 2012

Author: Emma Donoghue

Title: Room

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Publication Date: September 2010

Number of Pages: 321

Geographical Setting: Presumably Canada

Time Period: Present

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Five-year-old narrator Jack has spent his entire life in a garden shed turned prison with his Ma. His narrations reveal to the reader that his mother has been held captive by a sociopath known only as Old Nick by Jack. Additionally, Ma made the decision to spare Jack the heartbreak of truly understanding their situation by telling him the Room is essentially the universe and that everything he sees on their television is fiction. The haunting, disturbing novel is irresistible from the start, spurred along by the fast-pace of a child’s narration and the incredible sense of psychological suspense Donoghue creates. About half the book takes place in the Room, until Jack and Ma finally make a daring escape. Rather than ending the story there, Donoghue explores their painful and shocking reintroduction to the outside world. This character-centered novel explores the harrowing but ultimately hopeful experience of Jack and his mother.

Subject Headings: Antisocial personality disorders, Kidnapping, Boys, Mother and child, Women kidnap victims, Compulsive behavior in men

Appeal: fast-paced, suspenseful, engaging, harrowing, disturbing, unsettling, uncomfortable, character-centered, realistic, haunting, refreshing, resolved ending

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: disturbing, compelling, suspenseful

Secrets in the cellar, by John Glatt

Donoghue was inspired to write Room after learning the terrible story of a 73-year-old man found guilty of assaulting and imprisoning his daughter for 24 years, fathering several children with her over the period of time she was trapped in a secret bunker he designed. Harrowing and deeply disturbing, Glatt’s book is the true story of the Fritzl case.

A stolen life: a memoir, by Jaycee Dugard

Readers who are interested in true stories of kidnapping and captivity that also contain an ultimately hopeful tone might like Dugard’s disturbing memoir of being kidnapped at age 11. The gritty, candid story is about Dugard’s imprisonment by a sex offender and her eventually escape after being forced to give birth to two of his children.

Tears of rage: from grieving father to crusader for justice : the untold story of the Adam Walsh case, by John Walsh.

Readers may be interested in learning about the legal side of a tragic ordeal after reading the Room. Walsh’s painful account of the cold legal system that could have done more to save his son will resonate with readers.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The irresistible Henry House, by Lisa Grunwald

Readers who are eager to learn how Jack continues to develop may enjoy Grunwald’s historical fiction about a man raised as a practice baby for home economics courses. Henry House feels betrayed by lies about his origins, yet remains emotionally stunted by his unusual upbringing. The book is compelling and thought-provoking.

Me & Emma, by Elizabeth Flock

Another disturbing tale of abuse and family drama, Flock’s book features an eight-year-old protagonist who details her family’s abuse at the hands of her alcoholic stepfather. More methodically paced, the book is more of a thriller with a startling, violent ending that might appeal to readers who enjoyed Room but felt the book glossed over gritty details of Jack’s captivity and subsequent adjustment to the outside world.

Still Missing, by Chevy Stevens

Readers who are interested in learning more about Ma’s ordeal may enjoy Still Missing, a novel exploring the trauma experienced by a woman who is kidnapped and abused at the hands of a sociopathic captor. The book is more gritty and reflective then Room, but also examines the reintroduction of a kidnapping victim into society.

Stephen Fry in America

March 27, 2012

Author: Stephen Fry

Title: Stephen Fry in America

Genre: Nonfiction, Travel Memoir, Essays

Publication Date: November 3, 2009

Number of Pages: 320

Geographical Setting: Various places throughout the United States

Time Period: Present Day

Plot Summary: Actor, writer, comedian and British national treasure Stephen Fry travels around the United States in a black cab in order to discover the hidden gems that shape the United States into a multicultural society. Fry visits all 50 states and includes interesting facts about each, as well as photographs of him performing tasks in every area.

Subject Headings:

United States – Description and Travel

Fry, Stephen – 1957, Travel

British – Travel – United States

United States – Foreign public opinion, British

Appeal: Amusing, engaging, informative, charming, witty, insightful, knowledgeable, refreshing, heartwarming, poignant, upbeat, conversational

Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: Amusing, insightful, charming.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Sex Lives of Cannibals – Martin Troost

The author and his girlfriend decide to move to a remote South Pacific island for two years in the hopes of discovering a romantic paradise. Rather than romance, the couple find themselves in one misadventure after another and an unforgiving environment. This is a travel memoir about what happens when a good trip goes bad.

Mental Floss History of the United States – Erik Sass

This book is a spin off from the satirical and informative magazine, Mental Floss, and discusses some of the most famous stories concerning the history of the United States. It takes a satirical but historically correct spin on the history of the US and points out facts that we may have been taught in school, but were not entirely factual.

Around the World in 80 Days – Michael Palin

Palin, part of the legendary comedy group Monty Python, tries to pay homage to the original Around the World in 80 Days by traveling the globe without the use of an airplane for 80 days. He visits the same places as the original but adds in more information regarding the specific areas, and a substantial bit of humor.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Gulliver’s travels – Jonathan Swift

This novel is the classic travel story. An Englishman voyages away from home and finds himself in a world entirely unlike his own.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

A strange choice perhaps, but this novel is a fish-out-of-water story where our main character is moved from his life on Earth to one in space. Fry and Adams have a similar sense of humor and attention to detail.

Freddy and Fredericka – Mark Helprin

Prince of Wales Freddy and his wife, Fredericka, are sent to colonize the barbaric land of America after being ridiculed by the press. They set off to hide among Americans and try to reconquer the country. During their time in America they find themselves accidentally in misadventure after misadventure

Name: Courtney Rose