Book Review: Room


Emma Donoghue

Little, Brown & Company

336 pages

Jack is five years old.  He has spent his entire life in Room, an 11×11 space where he is imprisoned along with his mother.  Jack has absolutely no idea that his situation is not the norm.  He and his Ma spend all day everyday locked in the room, where they are forced to be creative in order to entertain themselves.  The only exposure Jack has to the outside world is through what he sees on TV, but he has no idea that what he sees is “real” and not made up.
Ma is kept captive by a man that Jack calls “Old Nick”.  He visits Ma sometimes at night, at which time he also brings groceries and whatever else the two prisoners may need.  Ma has a few tricks up her sleeve, such as trying to yell and scream next to the skylight in the hopes that someone will hear her cries.  Unfortunately, her tactics are for naught as she has been held in Room for the past seven years.  However, she will stop at nothing to try and ensure that she and Jack are able to escape Room . . .
I had a hard time imaging this room as being 11×11.  I don’t know where they would have had the space to do the type of physical activities they did, or even have space for the furniture and appliances they had.  It was mindboggling! And then to have Jack actually wanting to be in the room, since he knew nothing else.  It was such a scary scenario.
It was interesting to confirm after finishing the book that Donoghue’s inspiration was the Austrian man who, in fact, kept his daughter prisoner for years while he continued to sexually assault her and she continued to bear his children.  I don’t know much about that story besides what was widely publicized at the time, but the parallels were instantly obvious to me.
I was so afraid that the hype would ruin this one for me.  We have all encountered it–you read so many glowing reviews that you seriously cannot wait to get your hands on a book, only to find that your expectations have been set too high.  I am happy to say that didn’t happen to me here.
Room was a quick read.  I could have easily read it in one sitting, and I wish I had given myself the time to do that.  I actually think it would be a great read-a-thon book.  The story is so involving that I don’t think it is easy to get bored while reading it.
If you have read any of Donoghue’s other books, be forewarned: this book is unlike any of her others (or at least those that I have read thus far).  That isn’t a bad thing or a good thing.  Just something to keep in mind.  I would definitely suggest her other books too though, especially Slammerkin!
Other Reviews:

S Krishna’s Books

Book Journey

Farm Lane’s Book Blog

Stuff as Dreams are Made On

Nomad Reader

Capricious Reader

Lovely Treez Reads

Book Lust

Booking Mama

Fizzy Thoughts

I borrowed this book from my local library.

11 Responses

  1. I know what you mean when yo say you are so hopeful that all the hype of how great the book is doesn’t set the bar too high. I get that way too…. wondering if I will like it as much as everyone else.

    I really did enjoy this book. It was fun to read yours.

  2. I hope to read this soon 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed. It sounds really good.

  3. I was lucky enough to read this before the hype, which is always nice.

  4. I probably won’t get to read this until long after the buzz dies down. Glad to see you liked it.

  5. Glad u liked it; me too!

  6. Wasn’t Slammerkin amazing? I loved that book.

    I do want to read this one but I’m afraid it may be a while. I’m so behind on all of my reading. Sigh.

    Wonderful review!

  7. I really do want to read this, but I think I’m going to wait a year or so to let that hype die down.

  8. I’m so glad you loved this one too! I agree it would make a great read-a-thon book. I’m looking forward to exploring her backlist, especially knowing how different her other books are!

  9. This book is second on my review (as in I’ve read, but not posted my review yet) pile. There is a lot of hype surrounding it, but in my opinion, totally well-deserved. It was interesting (once I got used to the dialogue of a five-year-old) to be inside this little one’s head, and the Gasp! moment (you know which one I’m talking about ) was totally unexpected and kind of surreal. I’m not certain if it was a five-star book for me, but it’s pretty close, simply by the way it draws you in.

  10. Oh, and I actually received it and read it before I saw all of the hype, so it didn’t unduly influence me. 🙂

  11. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I caved in and bought a copy recently on my nook and can’t wait to read it.

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