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message 1: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
Room is up for discussion and I am leading this discussion.

First question is did you like it? Did you start it and not make it through and if so why?


message 2: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
I'll be honest when I started the book I didn't think I would like it. I was surprised as I read on that I did enjoy it. I was more surprised when I finished it how long the characters stuck with me. So, while I may not have loved every part of it I am always in awe when an author creates characters that stick with me after I close the book.


message 3: by Emily (new)

Emily (ejfalke) | 576 comments Am I the only one who doesn't think they can handle the subject of this book?


message 4: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments I am with you Emily! Don't think I can handle it either!


message 5: by Viola (new)

Viola | 1014 comments I loved this book! I read a little blurb on it and I was hooked. I immediately wanted to read it. The first page was a little bit hard for me because of the language. But soon enough, I got used to Jack's voice. I grew to absolutely love Jack. I was so sad when I finished the book because it meant that I had to leave Jack.

I definitely can see that it's not a book for everyone. Clearly, you have to be okay with the subject matter. As much as I've enjoyed it, I haven't recommend it to many of my friends. In fact, I've only recommended it to one person -- my sister, because she enjoys reading about these sorts of topics.


message 6: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Phillips I can't really adequately express in words how much I really loved this book, Jack and his mother! I really loved that the book was narrated by a 5 year old child and that I could understand the world (Jack's world) through his perception and voice. I listened to the audio-book version and Jack was absolutely endearing!


message 7: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
I missed Jack so much when the book ended. I think that is what hit me the most - how much I missed that character. I found myself thinking 'hmmm wonder what Jack is doing?'


message 8: by Megan (new)

Megan Underwood | 267 comments A couple of my friends have decided not to read the book because of the subject, but I think the author does a great job of telling the story so that you understand that Jack and his mom are in a very bad place without adding the gruesome details. I really apppreciated that. Did anyone else feel that way?

And I am still torn about the book. When they got out of Hell, the Room, Jack sort of started to annoy me. Is that horrible!? I wonder if mothers have a different view or understanding of Jack? I really liked Jack's mom for so many reasons.

I found all the activities and learning in the Room fascinating, especially with the limited resources. I also couldn't help notice the change of connection between Jack and him mom when they got out of the Room. How did everyone else feel about that change?


message 9: by Gillian (new)

Gillian | 618 comments I really enjoyed this book. I thought that using the perspective of a 5 year old was brilliant on the author's part, as it made the subject matter a little more manageable.


message 10: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
I agree Megan. You know what what happened and is happening without details. Because it is from Jacks view point and his mother did such a great job of keeping him protected the reader is also pretty protected.

I'm not sure if it's because I am a mother or not but I did understand and feel for Jack through to the end.


message 11: by Gillian (new)

Gillian | 618 comments Oh I like that Tera, thinking of the readers as being protected like Jack was. Great point!


message 12: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 92 comments One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the writing style. Not only was Jack the narrator, the way Room became a character in the story was creative. I have a three year old, so I think I was privy to some of the "inside" jokes such as why Jack knows certain words (that are straight out of pre-school television shows).

This book does have difficult subject matter, but it approaches it with an interesting perspective. Ma works hard to make Room an entire world where Jack can be happy. She also does all of the things a good mother does by teaching him to read, exercise, and use his imagination.

Megan, I did notice the change in connection and found it very interesting. Room and Ma were Jack's entire life. However, Ma had her own life before Room. That created an interesting conflict when they were both out trying to face the rest of the world.


message 13: by Nikki (new)

Nikki | 2 comments I thought I wouldn't be able to get into the book because of Jack's voice, but I adjusted to it quickly.

I really loved Jack through the whole book, and I felt so bad for him when Ma had to start telling him the truth. Can you imagine finding out everything you believed to be true was a lie? And to find it out at age five?

Once they got out, I think if another kid who hadn't been through Jack's experience acted the way Jack did (temper tantrums and not wanting to try new things, etc), then I would have been extremely annoyed. But I was a little more annoyed at Ma because she was trying to rush him before he was ready. I understand her motivation in doing so, though. It wasn't an ideal situation for either of them, and they had drastically different needs after the escape, and those needs weren't necessarily compatible.

What did everyone think of the grandmother taking Jack out of the clinic? I don't know that it was detrimental to Jack, but I think the clinic may have been more beneficial. I did like the relationship he developed with his Steppa though.


message 14: by Megan (new)

Megan Underwood | 267 comments Tera - that is a great way to look at it, "protecting the reader." Did anyone read the The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? Sort of the same idea, I think.


message 15: by Christine (new)

Christine | 1311 comments Megan wrote: "Tera - that is a great way to look at it, "protecting the reader." Did anyone read the The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? Sort of the same idea, I think."

I read The Boy in Striped Pajamas and boy did I cry. OMG I remember sucking my breath in when I read the part where the father found his clothes.. As far as reading Room, I really want to but I'm kindof tender hearted when it comes to kids so may not be able to finish it.


message 16: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
Next question(s)

What do you think of Ma? Do you think she did the right thing? What if anything would you have done differently?


message 17: by Nadia (new)

Nadia A (bagambo) I didn't like this book - found it to be rather annoying to read since the entire story was told via a 5yo. I would have liked to have read Ma's perspective, instead of Jack's limited observations. I'm not saying I wanted graphic details or anything, more psychological stuff. We can assume why Ma attempted to kill herself once they were away from Room, but perhaps had we been allowed in her head we could have gained a clearer understanding of her choices: limiting Jack's scope of the world; breastfeeding Jack at the age of 5; placing all the pressure on Jack for their escape; her suicide attempt; her choice to live alone with Jack instead of with her mom; etc. I just feel as if the book lacked an emotional depth because of Jack's limited scope of the situation and realities he was being faced with. I do applaud Ma on her strength and courage with the ways she occupied Jack within Room and for the fact that she told her father that Jack was her son regardless of what had happened to her in Room. I think she was right in getting Jack to play dead so that they could escape - had she not done this I wonder if they would have made it out of Room alive.


message 18: by Viola (new)

Viola | 1014 comments I read this book when I was on maternity leave after having my first baby, a boy. I'm not one of those people who absolutely LOVES children, but as a new mom, I read this book with a different perspective than I would have if I wasn't a mom. I never grew annoyed with Jack. I loved how it was through his eyes, as you hardly see a book done in such a way. This was an incredibly emotional book for me. In fact, I cried more through this book than any other book. Did anyone else cry throughout this book?

I felt that the book was almost less about the kidnapping situation itself and more about the relationship of Jack and his mom. I think it's very unrealistic for Jack to have been shielded completely from the horrors of Old Nick, and for him to have maintained his innocence. I also think that it's unrealistic for them to have returned to say good-bye in the end. But the lack of realism didn't bother me.

To me Room was like a Womb. Every child has to exit the womb and enter the real world. In Room, Jack has Ma all to himself, but outside of Room, he doesn't. I thought his adjustment to the real world was like a fast-forward analogy to growing up. I cried when he didn't understand why things were the way they were in the real world and when he missed Room. Sometimes in growing up, you miss the ages and stages that you had before. Jack was so full of confidence in Room, and when he got outside, he wasn't. Many times in my own childhood, once I grew to be confident in a situation (say, middle school), things changed and all of a sudden, I was a freshman in high school and felt unsure of the world all over again.

And of course Ma did the right thing. Escaping was both her and Jack's only chance at life.


message 19: by Sandra (last edited Jan 18, 2011 07:40AM) (new)

Sandra (sandee) | 328 comments When I first saw this book, I attempted to buy it and them I didn't at the last minute. I wasn't sure if I could handle the content. When I saw that it was a book for this month, I ordered it and thought I would give it a chance. I read the book this weekend and I coudn't put it down. I was dying to know what happened. I am still dying to know what happens after the book is over. I want to know if Jack went to school and is doing well. I am still thinking about this book.

I'm still not sure if Ma did the right thing. I think that Jack would have seen more of Old Nick and what he was doing to his mother. He talks about how Old Nick makes the bed squeek, he would had more questions about that.


message 20: by Megan (new)

Megan Underwood | 267 comments I think Ma did the right thing. It was really her only option. I found myself wondering, before they escaped, what Old Nick would do to Jack when he got too old or big for the Room. At some point Jack would appear to be a liability to Old Nick. That just made me cringe thinking about that again.


message 21: by Viola (new)

Viola | 1014 comments @Megan -- That's so true! I never thought about that.


message 22: by Viola (new)

Viola | 1014 comments Though, in the real life Fritzl case, which Room was inspired by, there were 3 children in captivity: Kerstin, Stefan, and Felix. They were 19, 18, and 5 when discovered. The author was thinking of Felix when she wrote Room. So, you know, 19 and 18 are pretty old for being in captivity, and Josef Fritzl still was able to keep them hidden.

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritzl_case


message 23: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Phillips I think Ma did a wonderful job of raising Jack! He was loved and knew it :o) In fact he was so loved that he really did not feel much in danger if at all. Although he did have a sense of Old Nick's "badness".

Ma did such a wonderful job of raising Jack that his daily life seemed very normal in many aspects and of course because Jack was born into the situation and did not know another life, he really did not realize his life was different from anyone else's. He in fact found great security in Room.


message 24: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
Viola wrote: "I read this book when I was on maternity leave after having my first baby, a boy. I'm not one of those people who absolutely LOVES children, but as a new mom, I read this book with a different pers..."

I like the Womb analogy. I hadn't thought of it that way. Even like a newborn they were both so unuse to sunlight they had to wear sunglasses because of so much light around them. That really does remind me of a baby coming into the world.


message 25: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
I thought Ma did an excellent job considering the circumstances. I think because it is from Jack's pov there were times I wanted her to just scoop him up and cuddle him but when I imagine life from her pov I think it had to be all so overwhelming when she was finally free of Old Nick that her mini breakdown was unavoidable.

What did you think of Jack's grandparents? How do you think they handled everything?

I have to admit that I was most annoyed with Jack's uncle and aunt. I wanted to shake them on that first outing.


message 26: by Kay-tee (new)

Kay-tee I did like this book, I was able to lose myself in the story pretty quickly. I was left wanting more though—I agree with Nadia I would have liked to read a little from Ma's POV to get more of a picture, but that also would have taken away from the book. I wanted the book to be longer dealing with the reintergration into society in a little more detail, not just how everything was different. I found myself wondering about the struggle between nature vs. nuture a lot in this story.
I think Ma did do the right thing. Escape definetely could not have been attempted when Jack was any younger—there was no reason for him to live in fear, or to realize how bad things really are. I was amazed that she had lasted 7 years in Room. I was disappointed when she had trouble helping Jack adapt to the real world, but this was understandable—she left the real world a 19 yr old college student, not a mother, and was trying to deal with her own upheaval. I admire her bravery.
I thought it was interesting that Ma's parents handled things totally opposite. I was glad Ma stood up to her father. I thought Jack's grandmother handled things pretty well, trying to adjust to how to relate to and help a 5 year old who has no clue about anything in the real world.
Jack's aunt and uncle made me incredibly angry. I couldn't even believe what I was reading, first with going into the mall, then in the bathroom—just annoying.


message 27: by Viola (new)

Viola | 1014 comments Are there things in Room that you wished were different? I wished that Ma wasn't adopted. I feel like the homecoming just wasn't as powerful as if she were biologically related to her parents. (Any adoptees or adopters here that I've just offended?) And I also wished that Old Nick wasn't a stranger. Abductions to begin with are rare. And most are done by people the abductee already knows.

I can't believe that we're having a discussion of Room and breastfeeding hasn't come up at all! I was fine with it, but I'm just surprised no one has aired their disgust of the breastfeeding a 5 year old.


message 28: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (sandee) | 328 comments I wasn't really offended by the breast feeding because I figured that she was doing it for nutrition reasons. I know that she always asked for vitamins and then she freaked out when Old NIck said they were too expensive.

I did however think it was a little odd when he kissed them both good bye.


message 29: by Jo (new)

Jo I loved this book too. I wasn't expecting to like it so much so it was a nice suprise. I missed Jack a lot when it was over. I was left wanting to know how he turned out after what he had been through. Like when he is older and realises how he was created.


message 30: by Megan (new)

Megan Underwood | 267 comments Again I think this is because I am not a parent and do not fully understand the bond between parent and child, but the breastfeeding part weirded me out, especially when they got out of the Room. I also figured Ma had to keep breastfeeding for the vitamins, but also maybe because it is harder to get pregnant when you are breastfeeding? Is that a myth?

What really bothered me was the sucking on the tooth. That was really gross. LOL.

And I hated that Jack's grandfater treated him the way that he did, but I sort of understood it too. I think as a dad he was just hurting for his daughter and trying to cope with what happened to her. I liked the grandmom. I sort of wish the author explained the tension between Ma and grandmom though. I was also very angry when jack's aunt and uncle took him to the mall. What were they thinking?


message 31: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (sandee) | 328 comments I was also left wanting to know so much more about their lives later on and how Jack turned out. I am still thinking about this book.


message 32: by Nancy (Colorado) (new)

Nancy (Colorado) I just started the book and am feeling the same way!

Emily wrote: "Am I the only one who doesn't think they can handle the subject of this book?"


message 33: by Nadia (new)

Nadia A (bagambo) Megan, I agree with your comments. I found the breastfeeding to be weird, considering the fact that Jack was 5. And I know what you mean about Ma's father, he wasn't thinking about Jack as his grandson, he was thinking about the fact that his daughter was repeatedly raped and held hostage and that Jack represented that. As for the grandmom, you are right, it would have been interesting to read more about their relationship. And, yes, the aunt and uncle were crazily insensitive when they took Jack to a mall.


message 34: by Viola (new)

Viola | 1014 comments @Megan --

Yes, it is true that breastfeed does prevent ovulation, so it can be used as birth control. BUT almost all health care providers will tell you that it's not a reliable form of birth control.

Yeah -- I too thought the sucking on the tooth thing was REALLY gross.

And I also was understanding of how Ma's father treated Jack. I mean many people would abort a pregnancy that was a result of rape.


message 35: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
I got the breastfeeding thing. She mentions times when he didnt give them food. I also imagine there was some secruity in it for both of them. Jack was all she had that was pure and lovely. I'd want to keep that as close as possible for as long as possible too.

This next question is speculation on your part but what would you imagine will be Ma's and Jack's biggest obstacle now they are in the real world?


message 36: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) Viola wrote: "@Megan --

Yes, it is true that breastfeed does prevent ovulation, so it can be used as birth control. BUT almost all health care providers will tell you that it's not a reliable form of birth co..."


I felt that if it wasn't for Jack, the mother would have stepped out a long time ago either physically or mentally. Jack kept her holding on for his sake and gave her hope. I know we do a lot of things that we don't want to or live through things for the sake of our children. To have someone or something to care for makes us stronger people. Especially a child we would die for. I'm sorry Ma's father couldn't appreciate that.


message 37: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) Viola wrote: "Are there things in Room that you wished were different? I wished that Ma wasn't adopted. I feel like the homecoming just wasn't as powerful as if she were biologically related to he..."

I wondered why that was put in the book too. I couldn't find where it added anything to the story. Was the brother adopted too? Did anyone see why she would have added this point?


message 38: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
I wonder about her parents and how the reader was supposed to relate to them. I don't know that either of them did a great job at handling things although the mom did much more than the father. And why did she make Ma adopted? Do you think she was trying to insinuate that because she was adopted that her bond or their bond to her wasn't as close? Because that is almost the feeling I got from that. I personally don't believe that but it seemed like an out she took.


message 39: by Viola (new)

Viola | 1014 comments I went to an author event and met Emma Donoghue. During the Q&A, someone asked about the adoption.

She made Ma adopted, because she wanted to show that families are comprised of all different kinds of people and relationships, not just biological. I personally attribute this to the fact that Emma is lesbian, and the children she has with her partner is at most biologically related to one parent, not both. She did not say any of this. That is just what I think based upon the fact that she said she wanted to depict families that are not nuclear, biological families.

Still, I would've preferred Ma to have biological parents.


message 40: by Rebekah (last edited Jan 25, 2011 01:32PM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) Ma is going to have to deal with that whole Post Traumatic Syndrome thing. Also there will never be anyone she can share with as no one else had been through what she had. Going through that will not give her the wherewithal to be Jack's sole anchor and nurturer as before.
Also the irony that she views the outside world as the world of comfort and safety and he oppositionally views Room as the comfort/safety zone. Yet both despise the other's idea of what the world is or should be.


message 41: by Cottonballs (new)

Cottonballs | 10 comments I'm not done yet but, I just can't stand the curly haired reporter. She's just getting on my nerves!


message 42: by Jami (new)

Jami Goodwin | 6 comments I would have liked to have heard from Ma after she and Jack were Outside. I found Ma's relationship with her father to be fascinating, and I would have liked to have heard from this character concerning her reactions to life Outside. I appreciated that the families were far from traditional, but I feel that we suffered a little in understanding the complexities of Ma's relationship with her parents, as well as her backstory, due to the Jack-only perspective. I also wonder, somewhat cynically, if Ma's birth mother would have shown up upon finding out her daughter was famous.


message 43: by Liz (new)

Liz Fichera (lizfichera) I'm not finished yet with ROOM, but I'm liking it so far. I hesitate to read too many of the comments because I don't want any spoilers. The writing style is definitely interesting too.


message 44: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Chaney (carrie_chaney) | 148 comments Emily wrote: "Am I the only one who doesn't think they can handle the subject of this book?"

I read this book last year, and though I was skeptical at first I have to say, I loved it.

I think part of what makes this book so incredible is that we aren't SUPPOSED to feel like we can handle the subject matter. It's completely overwhelming at times to imagine going trough what Jack and his mother survived. But that's the point. Things like this HAPPEN. The world we live in can be beautiful, but it also holds many horrors.

I also found it difficult to understand the language for the first few pages, but once I became accustomed to Jack's voice, the strain faded.

I also agree with what some of you say about coming to care for Jack. I found myself craving some sort of epilogue in the end so we could see how he fared later!


message 45: by Beth (new)

Beth | 5 comments I finished this book Friday night and I can't stop thinking about it. I really would have liked to see an epilogue too. I just keep wondering what will happen to Ma and Jack as time goes on. I thought it was interesting that Jack saw Room as his safe place and it was anything but that to Ma. I also would have liked to know Ma a bit more and wished she had a name. Most five year olds know what their mother's real name is. I found that a bit odd that she wouldn't have made him memorize her full name so when he was rescued he could give her name. I too wonder about Ma's back story with her family. I wonder if they were close or dysfunctional. I guess we are only supposed to know what Jack would know? It leaves many questions for me. Maybe we need a book told from Ma's point of view.


message 46: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Chaney (carrie_chaney) | 148 comments Beth wrote: "I finished this book Friday night and I can't stop thinking about it. I really would have liked to see an epilogue too. I just keep wondering what will happen to Ma and Jack as time goes on. I thou..."

An interesting thought! A book from Ma's point of view would be fascinating, but also all the more disturbing. While Jack doesn't understand most of the harsher realities of their situation, Ma DOES.


message 47: by Beth (new)

Beth | 5 comments Carrie wrote: "Beth wrote: "I finished this book Friday night and I can't stop thinking about it. I really would have liked to see an epilogue too. I just keep wondering what will happen to Ma and Jack as time go..."

That is so true Carrie. I'm not so sure I could get through a book told from Ma's side of the story, even though I would like to know more about her.


message 48: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Chaney (carrie_chaney) | 148 comments Another thought: Does anyone know where the research/inspiration for this book came from? Was it inspired by any one event?


message 50: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Chaney (carrie_chaney) | 148 comments Thanks Viola! :)


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