Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

“Breathtakingly beautiful and haunting to the core you will become wrapped up in Jack's world and Room.”

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Title:Room
Author:Donoghue, Emma
Publisher:Little Brown
Pages:321

From Goodreads: 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. …more 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.

Emma Donoghue has created such a fascinating and provocative story inside the pages of her latest book Room that I am loathe to try to review it. Seeing everything from Jack’s eyes, I am almost certain I have never truly fallen in love with character until now. Jack is brave and strong and he is scared and this is the most amazing chance for any reader to get lost in rediscovering the world from the eyes of a child.

I found myself angry with Jack’s Ma in the last third of the book. All he has ever known is her and Room and she becomes increasingly selfish through-out the novel. However I can’t say that I would do anything differently if I was in her shoes. So the fact that I was angry with her made me angry at myself and I began to think about the ways I interact with my own children. Am I setting them up for some kind of mental fall out later in life? Those impossible questions that can’t be answered until you are slapped with the therapy bills I suppose.

Jack is a fantastic narrator, growing up in Room with little to do but read and count he is fantastically ahead with his mental capability for learning. I love his voice, and the way he explains everything in his world to his reader. I love that Dora is his friend inside of Room just like she is the friend of so many children outside of Room.

At 8:30 I press the button on TV and try between the three. I find Dora the Explorer, yippee. Ma moves Bunny around and real slow to better the picture with his ears and head. One day when I was four TV died and I cried, but in the night Old Nick brung a magic converter box to make TV back to life. The other channels after the three are totally fuzzy so we don’t watch them because of hurting our eyes, only if there’s music we put Blanket over and just listen through the gray of her and shake our booties.

Today I put my fingers on Dora’s head for a hug and tell her about my superpowers now I’m five, she smiles. She has the most huge hair that’s really like a brown helmet with pointy bits cutted out, it’s as big as the rest of her. I sit back on Bed in Ma’s lap to watch, I wriggle till I’m not on her pointy bones. She doesn’t have many soft bits but they’re super soft.

So there you can get a great sense of Jack and his narration skills from that quote from early on in the book. As the story progresses and we see the ‘games’ that Ma and Jack play are really Ma trying to get the neighbors to notice them and escape the book becomes a bit harder to read. I have shed many a tear during the reading of Room and it is not a book that I am going to forget any time soon.

Thank you Emma Donoghue and Jack for giving me such an amazing gift of a book that will stay with me as time progresses and that made me feel so much.

This story is beautiful and haunting and many other adjectives that I could continue piling onto this sentence. Pick up a copy and read I promise you will not be disappointed.

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7 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    I thought Room would be dark and depressing, but it was the complete opposite. The love between Ma and Jack blew me away. One of my most favorite reads for this year.

  2. Gravatar

    Okay, that’s it. I’m giving in and buying this one. Your review has pushed me over the edge! :)

  3. Gravatar

    I am absolutely thrilled to hear that this book is so good. I recently bought this book on impulse, so I seriously know nothing about it, but hearing all these good review making me want to read it very soon!

  4. Gravatar

    I agree with you completely about your review! This book really sticks with you and yes, Ma does kind of drive you crazy at the end!

  5. Gravatar

    I enjoyed reading your review. I loved ROOM as well and very much enjoyed seeing Emma Donoghue at the Roundabout in London. She spoke very passionately about the book and it was fascinating to hear about the choices she made while writing it.

  6. Gravatar

    This book was actually on my Christmas list that I gave to my husband last night! Keep your fingers crossed for me that I receive it! If not, I’m buying it anyway! :)

  7. Gravatar

    I adored that book. It was a hard read, but Jack. What an unforgettable character.

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