This book is the kind that gets in your head and stays awhile. I was anxious to finish it — not necessarily because it was an excellent book and I could not put it down but because I wanted this family to get to a ‘safe’ place and a ‘normal’ existence, if only in my head.
This book is told through the narration of a five year old boy. I have to say, that is my main complaint. I hang around small kids all day long — I kind of wanted to be in the head of an adult.
When the book opens, we find the boy, Jack, in an 11 by 11 room where he has been his whole life. Two years before he was born, his mother was kidnapped and has been kept in this 11 by 11 foot shed ever since.
She has tried to escape. She tried knocking her captor over the head with the toilet lid (the heaviest thing in the room). She tried holding a butter knife to his throat. Nothing has worked and things are getting serious as their captor, who Jack calls ‘Old Nick’ because he comes in the middle of the night and sometimes leaves food, has lost his job. Jack’s Mom is terrified that he will lose the house, be evicted, and they will be left to starve and die before anyone decides to check the shed in the backyard.
They do escape (I’ll let you read to find out how) and after Jack’s Mom suffers an emotional setback (and who can blame her) Jack is left to figure things out on his own. Like grass, playgrounds, shoes, ever being in a room by himself, and even the sun — he’s never been outside in his whole life and has a hard time with the brightness of the sun.
It’s an interesting and thought-provoking book. I did not love it because parts were so difficult to think about, but at least this book makes you think.