Monday, July 11, 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue

**slight spoilers**
Room by Emma Donoghue
Release Date – September 14, 2010
Publisher – HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Publisher Social Media info- Twitter and Facebook
Pages - 321
My Rating- 8/10

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

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.

I will start this by saying that this is not a YA book. I am going to review the occasional adult novel as I pretty much review every book I read.

The story is told from Jack’s point of view, and it captures the voice of a 5 year old perfectly. I have nieces that are around that age, and they do talk like him. The language is so well done that Jack really comes alive. I can see it maybe turning some people off if they don’t enjoy this perspective (a lot of the sentences are not what you would call “proper sentences”). It is wonderfully written and I found it a unique voice.

I couldn’t help but feel for Ma. She is in the most horrific situation imaginable and yet she tries to make things the best she can for Jack. Her goal is to get herself and Jack out of the room they are captive in. She is actually really strong and while we do see the toll that this has taken on her, she holds it together much better than I would have.

Jack is a typical 5 year old - he loves Dora, has his favourite games, and is endlessly inquisitive. He had me chuckling one minute and was breaking my heart the next.

The aftermath of Ma’s plan showcases how society views and sensationalizes these types of situations. It is heartbreaking to see them readjust after they are free. Jack is confused, scared and at one point even asks to go back to “room” (as he calls it) as he feels safer there. Seeing them start to slowly adjust and having Ma going through her own recovery really makes you feel for Jack.

I couldn’t help but think as I was reading it about the future of these characters. If Ma and Jack had stayed locked away in the room what would have happened. What type of relationship would they have had when he was teenager? What would Old Nick have done as Jack got older? Would he have been too much of a threat to Old Nick? How would Jack and Ma’s relationship have developed and changed?

This novel really is about the love between a mother and child, and what lengths we will go through for those bonds. It is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time.


  1. This sounds like it would be a very interesting read. I just can't even imagine going through that. Thanks for the review!

  2. Informative...........Thanks

  3. I loved this book, though it was absolutely terrifying in places (more than some pure horror novels even!) A lot of people hated the second half though, so I wrote a defense of sorts of it here:


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