Ms Smith's Reviews > Room

Room by Emma Donoghue
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Jan 19, 11

bookshelves: booker-shortlist, survival, kidnap, imprisonment, disturbing, growing-up, mental-illness, normality
Read in January, 2011

I can see why Room was nominated for the Booker Prize. It has all the makings of a compulsively good novel and story. I read it in more or less a day and a night because I couldn't put it down; however although it was gripping I'm only giving it 3 stars...

I was disturbed by the subject of the book, understandably, but I think the hardest thing to get my head around was the book's narrative written from the perspective of 5 year old Jack complete with all of his 5 year old grammar and world perspective. I struggled to completely empathise with Jack because of the way the book was written - feeling frustrated because of his lack of understanding for how Ma was feeling BECAUSE 5 year olds don't really understand complex adult feelings and I am not 5 any more! Nevertheless, the narrative is very effective and we CAN empathise because Jack is merely a product of the environment he has been brought into and therefore his concepts are very different to those in the outside world - with our developed selves we can think around what Jack says to understand the deeper implications of his words e.g. 'Old Nick's visits to Room involving the systematic abuse of Ma are only hinted at by Jack counting the number of squeaks the bed makes so he knows that when they stop he can come out of hiding. Jack's innocence makes the dark, nasty nature of what is happening even worse because of his simplistic views on everything.

The book was very well written and at the end I didn't want to leave Ma and Jack, I wanted to see what happened to them as they recovered from their ordeal - I had grown quite attached to them. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realise that this book deserves more than 3 stars - it's going up to 5 because it is so damn thought provoking. This would be a good book for a book group and lots of fun could be had with discussions afterwards for sure. Yes, this is definitely worth a read.
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