Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review - Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue was a bit of a tough sell to Hattie's Third Tuesday Book Club. There were several members who simply opted out this month. Some read the book and came to the discussion out of loyalty to the group. The subject matter was challenging.

But, having said that, everyone who came to the discussion was glad they read Room. Some members were absolutely enthralled with this unusually narrated story. Another member reported that they had stayed up until 1:30 am to finish reading an important section even though she had to wake up at 5 am later that morning.

Are you curious? What is this oddly titled book about? What is "Room?"

Jack, the narrator, is a five year old boy imprisoned with his mother by "Old Nick." To the reader, their situation is horrifying, but to Jack, it's just his life. Jack was born in "room" and has never left it. Jack and Ma are held in a soundproofed 11x11 shed, outfitted with basic necessities. In "Room" Ma has created a life for Jack that is intellectually engaging and "safe." She has also led him to believe that everything he sees on their TV is not real.

I'm not going to say any more about the story, to do so would be to venture into spoiler territory. What I will say is that Room is an amazingly beautiful book about a very painful subject. I don't blame you if you are hesitant to read it, but you should know, you'd really be missing out.


  1. Read and loved this book. It was hard to stop thinking about. The subject matter was disturbing, but the story told from the point of view of a truly naive 5 year old was amazing. I truly enjoyed watching Jack adjust to his "new" world. It was fascinating to see the world we live in every day from the perspective of someone who had never experienced it. I have reccomended it to many friends.

  2. Great view from the inside out and the outside in. Inspirational, once you put aside the disturbing bits, but then again it keeps you reading.

  3. @ J. L. I found it inspirational too. Ma is the quintessential "creative" parent...

    @Paige, I agree, hard to shake the story and it's many layers.

  4. An absolutely unique book, with a few flaws that didn't deter me from giving this five stars. What some reviewers have seen as its strong point, I saw as a flaw. It is written in a kind of baby talk from the point of view of a 5 yr old boy locked in a room with his mother, which I found annoying at first, and at the end still did not understand. Why would a boy whose mother talks to him normally still talk in baby talk at 5? It didn't make sense. However, it did portray the uneven development of this boy.