Nancy O'Toole's Reviews > Room

Room by Emma Donoghue
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Jan 18, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: book-club, contemporary-fiction, library
Read from January 18 to 21, 2011

Jack's home consists of an single room that only stretches eleven feet by eleven feet. He has never been outside, never breathed fresh air, and never had a friend his own age. Instead, he spends his days with his mother, who does her best to educate him, keep him physically active, and make sure he doesn't watch too much TV. Then when Jack is five, his mother advises him that their home is actually a prison. Six years before, she was kidnapped by a man known to Jack by “Old Nick,” and locked up in a shed behind his house. Jack is confused. For his entire life, Room has been his whole world, and now he has discovered that it's only a tiny piece of it.

Before picking up Room, I had heard multiple people tell me that it was the type of book you either love or hate. This is something I have witnessed first hand. The person who took it out of my library before me couldn't get past page forty. I couldn't put it down. From the first page, I was completely engrossed in the world of Jack and Ma (her real name is never given). I think that having the book narrated by the son was a stroke of genius on Donoghue's part. If she had told it form Ma's perspective, I would probably find the story of how a college student is kidnapped, imprisoned, and repeatedly raped by her captor to be a little too brutal. By telling the story from Jack's perspective, we are shielded from the majority of harsher moments, just like he is. Instead of a novel of torture and imprisonment, we are given a novel of one's young boys love for his mother, and his struggle to accept the idea of a bigger world.

I think the biggest factor that will determine your enjoyment of this novel is how well you relate to Jack's voice. I connected very well to it right away. Due to his upbringing, Jack has such a unique perspective of the world. I also found the character of Ma to be fascinating. It's obvious that she cares deeply about Jack, as can seen from the pains that she goes through to raise him as best as she can. At the same time, she struggles with her own depression, a result from the horrors she has suffered from for the last six years of her life.

I'm sorry if this review seems a little sparse, but I don't want to spoil too much about the book. I can tell you the Room is easily the best book I have read so far this year. Although far from a happy book, the novel does have it's brighter moments, and I would highly recommend this to people interested in contemporary fiction inspired by actual events.
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Reading Progress

01/18/2011 page 102
32.0% "This is really engaging!"
01/20/2011 page 321
100.0% "Just finished this one too! Many reviews forthcoming!" 2 comments

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