Room by Emma Donoghue

July 18, 2011 Whitney Review 5 Comments

Room by Emma DonoghueRoom by Emma Donoghue
Published by Little Brown and Company on September 13, 2010
Genres: General Fiction
Pages: 321
Source: Bought

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.

First Impressions

I recently watched the Diane Sawyer interview with Jaycee Dugard. One word came to mind, why?  What would possess anyone to commit such an act?  A sick bastard.  Room by Emma Donoghue captured my attention with atrocity that is hard to imagine.

Impressions While Reading

What I liked about Room was that it does not primarily focus on the captor as it is told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy. All Jack knows is what is in the 12×12 garden shed.    Because of this the reader must read between the lines with certain descriptions of events or actions.  An example is a screaming game they play every day is really he and his mother screaming for help. Another being the squeaking on the bed  is “Old Nick” raping his mother.

The interesting thing about the novel is that instead of building suspense and having the captives escape at the end of the novel they leave close to the beginning. The book’s focusing on their life after “Room” and adjusting to life on the outside.  This approach had me thinking much more than if they had stayed in the garden shed for the whole of the book because there are so many dimensions to being explored.  Both Jack and Ma must adjust to  the Outside world, Jack to well, everything and Ma must cope with reentering and resentment for the lost years taken from her.

Final Impressions

Room evokes so many emotions, disbelief, anger, sadness and feeling of helplessness.  All in a 300-page book.  Personally, I think the only thing that could have enhanced Room was if it were told from different perspectives, from Ma, Old Nick or her parents.  Lastly, and what really appalled me was that this was semi based on an abduction in Austria. A father held his daughter in a sound proof room in the family’s basement for 24 years and no one being the wiser.  Now that puts it in perspective.

I read Room by Emma Donoghue in a day and it is a book that you just can’t put down.  I highly  recommended it.


5 responses to “Room by Emma Donoghue

  1. This is the second praising review of this book I read. I will definitely read this book, it seems emotional, captivating and thought-provoking. Great review!

  2. At first I kind of disregarded this book. The reason being that it was first introduced to me by my sister and I don't normally trust my sister for book reviews. But I really enjoyed your review for it and I'm definitely intrigued enough to want to read it now. Just don't tell my sister!

  3. Just read this with my book club and you're right – you can read it in one day. I had no idea about any of the plot prior except that it was about a 5-year-old and his mother in a shed and I was so relieved when they finally escaped so close to the beginning. Even I felt claustrophobic just reading about it. And then to think that things like this really happen…

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