TheRealSharon's Blog

{May 14, 2011}   Apartment Blues vs. ROOM without much of a view

I lived in a house ALL my life until the day I got married when I started living in apartments. The first apartment we had together was smaller than the one we have now, was upstairs instead of downstairs and the landlady was atrocious. I am not overexaggerating either…she was miserably horrid. The maintenance men worked at 3 different apartments so whenever anything needed fixing, you had to wait forever. We lived with holes in our walls from leaks they had to fix for well over a month before they came to fix them. When they DID come to fix them, they showed up at 6 a.m. and got angry when we didn’t hear them!

Anyways, that’s old news. Our landlady here is so sweet and the maintenance man is so nice BUT I’m just not a big fan of apartment living. It’s a place to live so I’m thankful for that. Mainly I hate how the walls and windows seem to let in all the noises…..our upstairs neighbors like to wash clothes and vacuum in the middle of the night because she’s a nurse that works night shifts. I also hate how we are told 2 days before the exterminator is going to come and we have to empty out ALL kitchen cabinets and refill them..they come every 3 months. I realize the importance of this and I understand but it’s just very aggravating. When we first moved in, I had the cabinets all nice and orderly like I wanted them…now they are just set back in there however they will fit. It’s just too much trouble to do them all nice and perfect just to undo the hard work not too long afterwards. My mom suggested putting things in boxes and leaving them which I attempted but the boxes won’t fit in the cabinets right and I don’t want to have to pull a hefty box out all the time, search for what I need and stuff it back in, you know?

Unfortunately, this is just something I have to deal with and I’m thankful for a place to live that’s nice. Thankful for our landlady and maintenance man and overall, the few things that annoy me are worth it in the long run.

This morning I finished reading a book called “ROOM” by Emma Donoghue. To say this book was amazing would be an understatement for me. I’ve never done a book review before because it’s hard for me to adequately describe what a book is like in what I feel are the right words. I decided to attempt a small review for this one, though, simply because of the content and the emotional response it brought. Also because when I considered my measly apartment blues, thinking on this book made me realize how lucky I WAS.

This book is completely narrated by 5 year old Jack. Jack was born and has lived his whole life in an “11 by 11” space. That’s literally the only “world” he knows and he spends all his time with his Ma. When I started reading, it took me awhile to really get engrossed in it because this is a 5 year old speaking…I’ve babysat kids this age and played with them enough to know how they talk but I had never read a full length book that was in THEIR words. It was so uniquely different I didn’t know what to think but it was also enlightening. I caught myself reading the words slowly and really trying to envision things from a child’s eyes, things that I am so used to but a child is seeing new. Once I got about 40-50 pages in, I had grown to understand a lot of what Jack was seeing and was interested in his plight and what was going to happen next. Obviously, I knew by reading OF the book that something had to have happened for them to be in the situation but from the eyes of Jack, things seem to be hunky dory or perfectly fine and normal. It turns a story that could be quite horrific into a story that’s easier to take. I don’t want to give away how the book ends or anything but let’s just say it’s really intriguing seeing Jack’s different outlooks on things and how they change less than you would imagine.

I stayed up late into this morning finishing the book. I was completely held in the grips of the story and wanted to see it out to its end. As I finished the last sentence, I almost felt like I was saying bye to this little boy I had just spent so much time with and didn’t want to let go. It was a very powerful book and I would recommend it to anyone! I know a couple of my blogging friends had mentioned it on Goodreads. One had read it and the other, Jackie, is the one who first told me about it and how she wanted to read it. I normally stick with authors I have already grown to love but the premise of this book just intrigued me so, I had to read it.

The Ma in the story was my age, by the way….which makes me think….would I rather spend years living in an apartment that is far bigger than “11 by 11” and I am free to come and go as I please or years in a small room where the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom are all together and I have no freedom to see the outside world at all?

Of course I would pick the apartment….who wouldn’t? But the reality is there are tons of people in this world right now who are trapped in a small room with no freedom so I am SOOOO grateful for my apartment right now. I needed that perspective to show me that.

eof737 says:

I like how you looked at both your own circumstances measured against what you read. enjoy the week ahead.

Thanks, enjoy yours as well! 🙂

I’m soooo glad you got a chance to read Room and you liked it! It’s funny because your personal reaction to the book is different from mine. Of course, it’s shocking to imagine living so many years in such small space and not seeing a way out. But for me, as a mom, it was a horrifying story, especially told by a small child. Kids really are smarter than we give them credit for, and this book captured it. It still gives me goose bumps and teary eyes to think about this story again. Definitely a must read for everyone, mom, woman or else.

Yea, I guess I can see that since you’re coming from the perspective of a mom and other than my nieces, nephews and friend’s kids, I don’t have that maternal perspective yet. I think I might reread it years from now as a mom and see if my response to the story changes some.
I’m planning to take the book to my mom tomorrow and let her read it. She doesn’t know anything about the book but since she has her knee in the brace, she has been stuck reading, watching tv, doing crosswords, etc. which she absolutely hates because she is so outgoing. I think she might like ROOM as well but since she is a mother, grandma, AND great grandma as well as having been a teacher in her past, I expect her reaction will be different than mine as well. It will be interesting to see what she thinks about it!

The Hook says:

My wife HATED our apartment days as well! Women need a house, plain and simple.

Glad to see it’s not just ME….apparently it’s a woman thing! 🙂

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