Steph's Reviews > Room

Room by Emma Donoghue
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's review
Jun 07, 11

bookshelves: year-read-2011, author-웃, no-para-elements, stand-alone
Read from January 26 to 28, 2011

8 June 11 ETA: I just stumbled on this interview in with Emma Donoghue (in 2010?) and found it interesting. Thought I'd share with those interested in her thoughts on writing a book such as this.


Room is such a hard book to read and to review. One reason I can't bring myself to rate this book 5★s is because it somehow feels wrong? to rate little Jack's story at all.

Jack has just turned 5 years old. He lives in Room (12'x12') with his Ma. Room and it's minimal contents are all he's ever known because, unknown to him, Mama was kidnapped when she was 19, seven years ago and they are being held captive by "Old Nick".

Ma does a great job of caring for and teaching Jack, in fact he sometimes sounds smarter than some children his age. But, you learn that, what first appears to be true knowledge, is only what he's seen and heard on their TV. Ma makes sure that Jack has a well-rounded day. There's exercise, only one hour of TV because "TV will rot your brain and your cells need time to grow back", reading and games. One game is the "Yelling Game", where they spend time looking up into the skylight, yelling and making as much noise as they can. We, the readers, know that this is in an attempt to be rescued, but Jack sees it as just another game in their daily routine.

Jack's given life to all the inanimate things in Room. There's Rug, which still sports the stain from his birth, Wardrobe, where he sleeps, Bed, etc. For all intense and purposes, he seems like a normal, heathy, happy child. In fact, he's a brave, naive captive who is about to learn his world is so very much larger than he could have ever imagined.

(view spoiler)

Jack's journey was sometimes gripping, consistently painful, and at the heart of it, amazing. He proves the strength of the human spirit and his is never diminished.
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Reading Progress

51.0% "Little Jack is beyond adorable. This story is so heartbreaking." 4 comments
100.0% "Review to follow"
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} I'd love to know your thoughts on this one. I'm too conflicted to pick it up knowing it was inspired by Josef Fritzl's deeds.

message 2: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Ewwww. I hadn't realised that. Steph I'm also interested what you think about this.

message 3: by Laura Lulu (new) - added it

Laura Lulu Me three. ;)

Steph The cover drew me to it, read the back and seeing it was narrated by the boy, I had to check it out. It's definitely disturbing. But, Little Jack is so strong, his Ma too. It sucks you in. I read the 1st half in a few hours. Haven't had a lot of read time since, but jump back and read a few lines here and there as I have a chance. I am anxious to see how Part 2 plays out. It would be a hard one to recommend. Knowing the subject, it's one that will have high or low ratings, I'm sure (I'm avoiding reviews until I'm finished) and would be one everyone needs to decide if it's something they want to read or not.

I'm going to need something supernaturally fun after reading it though.

message 5: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Thanks for being the guinea pig!

Steph LOL! No sweat. What are friends for. :)

message 7: by Laura Lulu (last edited Jan 28, 2011 04:50AM) (new) - added it

Laura Lulu Steph wrote: "I'm going to need something supernaturally fun after reading it though. "

So, does that mean you're not up for a Forbidden  by Tabitha Suzuma buddy read? ;)

Steph LOL! Definitely not right after this one. Later?

message 9: by Laura Lulu (new) - added it

Laura Lulu Lol. I'm just teasing ya. I think I'm reading it in Feb--I need an "F" book for the RRRC challenge.

message 10: by Regina (new)

Regina Forbidden sounds really interesting -- I mean I enjoyed Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1) by V.C. Andrews when I was in 6th grade.

Steph you are braver than me, I just couldn't read this book. I can barely read the news reports re this subject matter.

message 11: by Laura Lulu (new) - added it

Laura Lulu Ha! That's what I said on another thread--Flowers in the Attic for the 21st century. Chris & Cathy, part deux. ;)

Steph Laura Lulu wrote: "Lol. I'm just teasing ya. I think I'm reading it in Feb--I need an "F" book for the RRRC challenge."

I figured. But, let me know when you plan to start and I might be able to join ya.

Steph Regina wrote: "Steph you are braver than me, I just couldn't read this book. I can bar..."

It's hard to imagine it happening IRL. Disturbing people.

message 14: by Regina (new)

Regina So I can't find Forbidden! It is the first book that neither my suburban library or the Chicago library has -- and the Philadelphia Free library doesn't either. No US vendor sells the ebook and I ca't be the ebook from UK vendors (they won't let me!). I could by the Hardcover from Amazon, but I don't want to! This is the first time I have ever run into this situation.

message 15: by Steph (last edited Jan 28, 2011 09:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Steph That would frustrate me. I'm sorry you can't get a copy.

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