Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue

Genre: contemporary fiction,
FTC Disclosure: bought from Barnes and Noble
Published: 2010
Pages: 210
Content: abuse theme, psychological trauma

 There may be a spoiler or two in here! Sorry!

I went through a lot of emotions with this book, and I think that makes for a great book in the end. The whole story is told through the eyes of Jack, a five-year-old boy. His whole world is contained within a tiny room with only his mother for company. We soon learn that she was kidnapped at age 19 and has been held captive for seven years in this tiny room...after two years she had Jack.

The book goes through so many themes/ideas. One that struck me was this woman's relationship with her son Jack. She worked really hard to make his life as normal as possible given the circumstances...I kept thinking what I would have done in a situation like that. She said that Jack was her miracle. I think it was her way of being able to hold on and keep her own sanity. But that also got me thinking about what that really means...she had Jack for purely selfish reasons...and it shows after they escape and start to integrate into the real world. But that's what makes this book so intriguing. There are just so many emotions that run. I have no idea what I would really do in a situation like that, but I can tell you what I'd think I do. And isn't that what we always do when we here about other people's experiences and situations?

One thing I didn't like was the perspective of Jack. The storytelling was distracting from his point of view even though it also made it different. There were some inconsistencies as well in his he'd know a word at one time and then not know it later on. It was kind of weird. Also a few plot holes, too.

I thought the last half of the book really picked up after they try and reintegrate. We see how Jack's mother completely loses it after having kept it together soley for her son during their captivity. I liked how Jack was able to slowly start opening up to his other family aka grandparents, uncle, aunt, cousin. I'll admit, though, it was brutal to see how Jack's mother treats him after their escape. That's where the selfish part of her comes in. Since the book was written from Jack's perspective, he is the one character I truly care about. So I found myself really getting angry with his mother when she starts shutting down and not paying attention to him for a bit...but then I would think about what she went through...yeah, it's understandable.

Whew. Basically, this book made me think. I got really mad at times and then wondered why I was mad. I had to think from so many different perspectives...mine, mother, Jack, his grandparents. It's a journey that tears you down and then builds you back up.


  1. I just won this book and can't wait to read it! Your review has me even more intrigued.

  2. I remember reading Faith's Teaser Tuesday from this book. Room is definitely on my radar.

  3. Sounds like quite a book. Love your review and will have to think about reading this one.

  4. You've got some interesting new thoughts about this book that I haven't heard anyone mention before but which I'll definitely be looking for when I finally get my hands on my mom's copy.

  5. i've heard mixed reviews and feelings about this one. glad to hear you liked it overall as i may read it after all.

  6. Room is a beautifully conceived and constructed novel that suffers from a nearly fatal flaw: it is written in the first person in the present tense. Much, in commentary, has been made of Jack's voice, its authenticity and reach. But by definition the present tense in the first person may be used only for work that the reader reads.


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