Friday, January 24, 2014

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue
Published: September 13, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Pages: 321
Received: bought at book sale

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.


I had heard many people say that they loved this book. They never really explained why, but now I know. This book pulled at my heartstrings, made me read faster than I've ever read before and made me see the world in a completely different way. 


Jack is the product of repeated rape of a kidnapped young woman. She does the best she can to raise Jack in their little world inside the shed. She makes him learn as much as she can remember, plays games with him and teaches him about healthy eating, exercise and taking care of the things you own.


Jack only knows Room as his whole world. He believes that everything he sees on TV is make believe and not real. Until one day when his mother finally breaks down and tells him that there is more to the world than Room and there is an entire world waiting for them Outside. Jack's world starts to crumble and he keeps saying his head cannot hold all of the new things Ma is telling him are real.


Ma is worried that they may not survive inside Room and devises an amazing escape plan, but the only thing they weren't ready for was what it would be like on the outside and if they could survive it.


Honestly, I think this story was much more profound because it was told from the point of view of Jack. It's more intense than I think it would be if it were told from Ma's POV. This was such a powerful story. Room is a story that shows you just how much a mother can endure and can create for the child she so loves and wants to protect. I fell in love with Jack from the very first page and could only hope for the best for him as I read on.



About the author
Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. Since the age of 23, Donoghue has earned her living as a full-time writer. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their son and daughter.

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14 comments:

  1. I listened to this book on audio.I was both moved and disturbed by it. It is very good story telling though. Great review!

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    1. Thanks Felicia... and yes I agree that it was both moving and disturbing, but I still really enjoyed it.

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  2. I know I should read this book, but really intense books like this take so much out of me. One day, I will.....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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    1. Kate - it is intense, but it is definitely a great read. Hope you get to it one day. :)

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  3. I read this one a couple of years ago. It was a good book, but I didn't love it, maybe because it was outside of my usual genre.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and yes it is very much out of many peoples genres, but I still enjoyed it for what it was.

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  4. I know I should have read this by now, I keep intending to!

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    1. I guess the saying is true: So many books, so little time.

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  5. I've had this one on my wishlist for a while...your review really makes me want to run out and get it!

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  6. Love the sound of a book that is so emotional and pulls at heartstrings. Glad to hear you enjoyed and lived up to hype

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  7. I agree, the story is so much more intense than I think it would have been if it was told from Ma's POV. Donoghue made an excellent choice to write it this way. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I read it last year and also thought it was really good.

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    1. Exactly - if it were Ma's POV it would still be intense, but it was so much more powerful coming from Jack's POV.

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