We’re continuing our book excerpts on Wednesday for the month. Next month, we’re moving it to Friday– and do we have some new fun in store for you! Stay tuned. Today, I’m sharing my love for author Emma Donoghue. I’ve read two of hers now, and they could not be more different books but they were equally engrossing page-turners.
The first, for historical fiction lovers (but not romance- this book gets dark and gripping) is Slammerkin.
Born to rough cloth in working-class London in 1748, Mary Saunders hungers for linen and lace. Her lust for a shiny red ribbon leads her to a life of prostitution at a young age, where she encounters a freedom unknown to virtuous young women. But a dangerous misstep sends her fleeing to Monmouth and the refuge of the middle-class household of Mrs. Jones, to become the seamstress her mother always expected her to be and to live the ordinary life of an ordinary girl. Although Mary becomes a close confidante of Mrs. Jones, her desire for a better life leads her back to prostitution. She remains true only to the three rules she learned on the streets of London: Never give up your liberty; Clothes make the woman; Clothes are the greatest lie ever told. In the end, it is clothes, their splendor and their deception, that lead Mary to disaster.
We used to do a Whine Sisters Book Club (which I would like to bring back) and I read this book with Julia London and Kathleen Givens years ago when it came out. We all had quibbles, as we always did and do, but our general impression was “wow.”
The next is Emma Donoghue’s Room, as told by a five-year-old narrator who doesn’t seem to realize that his existence in one small room with his mother and Old Nick who comes to them every now and then and locks them in after spending the night is at all unusual. Yes, creepy. Scary. Sad. Amazing. Intriguing. And finally, hopeful. It’s a book that I couldn’t put down.
My sister loved it, too, but not my mom. She did not like it. So not all Thumbs Up on Room but I still recommend you read it. Emma Donoghue writes fascinating books.
I can’t find excerpts of either book, but here’s a great site detailing Room that puts you directly in Room. Click here. Pretty cool.
More on Room:
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another
What are you reading? Have you read Slammerkin or Room? Are you intrigued?