Books - Review

Showing all books by: Emma Donoghue

Jack is born in Room, where he lives alone with his Ma, only visited occasionally by Old Nick. Jack has his 5th birthday and his mum explains that the two of them are prisoners in the room, and there is a world outside. Jack and his mum bravely engineer an escape and Jack has to learn to cope with the whole world outside Room.
Terrific. Great story, brilliantly written, amazing characters and very moving. This was part of my Christmas 2010 present, the six books on the 2010 Man Booker shortlist.
Score: 9
Published: 2010
Read: January 9th 2011

Frog Music
The story of Blanche, exotic dancer in 1876 San Fransisco, her lover Arthur and his companion Ernest, all three former colleagues from a famous Parisian circus. A heatwave, smallpox, the fate of Blanche's baby son and an unexpected friendship with the eccentric Jenny all contribute to the chaotic breakdown of relationships and a murder.
Pretty good. Story jumps around in time over a two or three week period as Blanche's life is overtaken by events. Vivid pictures of life in post gold rush San Fransisco during an epidemic. Based on true events.
Score: 8
Published: 2014
Read: June 30th 2014

The Pull of the Stars
The story of Julia, an Irish nurse working in a Dublin hospital during the 1918 flu pandemic. She works in maternity and a significant part of the book consists of some detailed descriptions of labour from a time when the best anaesthetics were chloroform and alcohol. Working on a seriously understaffed ward, Julia is grateful for any help she can get, which comes mainly from a young uneducated but enthusiastic volunteer, and a talented (but renegade IRA) female doctor. All the male doctors are useless. And amidst all the pain, suffering and new life emerging - will Julia ever find love herself?
Jolly good. Great characters, very moving and plenty of afterbirth.
Score: 8.5
Published: 2020
Read: February 14th 2021