Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

What if the scope of your entire world were a 12 foot by 12 foot room? Such is the case for Jack, the 5 year old narrator of Room by Emma Donoghue. To Jack, Room is simply a place where he and his mother live, eat, bathe, and learn. The idea that there might be life outside of Room simply hasn't occurred to Jack because he's never seen it.

To Jack's mother, the room in which she has been held captive for the past seven years has a very different connotation than it does to Jack. Ma longs to escape and to provide better for Jack--but what if her plans don't work...and sometimes even more frightening, what if they do?


I had been on the waitlist for Room at my local library for almost a year. Recently, I finally broke down and bought it with a gift card, because it appeared that there was STILL quite a long wait ahead of me. Room was one of the first books that I've actually purchased brand new in almost a year, so I was hoping that it would be worth it.

I suppose it was--it's a good book, and I'm glad to own it, though it isn't without flaws. However, like a lot of the books that I've read lately, I feel like the less you know going into in, the I'll refrain from saying a lot about the plot itself. That said, one of the more difficult things for me was not the plot at all, but getting used to the "voice" of the narrator, five-year-old Jack. Much of the book is made up of sentences like, “Ma leans out of Bed to switch on Lamp, he makes everything light up whoosh.” I confess--I have a hard time getting past random capitalization when I'm reading, and it is abundant in this book, as Jack tends to name every object that exists as if it were a proper pronoun.  

Still, that minor irritant aside, I thought that this book did a remarkable job with giving the reader "adult" information through the eyes of a child narrator--most often, the reader is given the opportunity to read between the lines rather than directly supplied information by the 5-year-old narrator that he probably wouldn't know or understand, and I appreciated that. 

I actually think this would be a perfect book for a book-club--even though it's not a personal favorite of mine, it does lend itself to conversation very well. Overall, it's worth a read!


  1. I've had this on my list for awhile, but I'm postponing reading it because we had a pretty traumatic spring involving children and hidden rooms. But it's still on my list!!

  2. We are scheduled to read this in our book club and I already read it. I liked it, maybe a little loved it because I couldn't put it down!!!!

  3.'s spelled "renewal" ;-)

  4. Nice review. Sounds like the narrator would drive me crazy. :)

  5. Ohhh, Meredith! We've been soul sisters for almost EVERY book you've talked about so far (btw, have you looked into Game of Thrones yet? I've read nine HUNDRED pages in the last six days) but I could NOT put this book down!!! I absolutely loved every single word. I got it form the library so since it wasn't on my kindle, I flipped ahead and ruined it for myself, but other than that, I thought it was PERFECT. And such a unique way to tell the story, you're so right about the reading between the lines, although I didn't realize that's what I'd been doing it until you mentioned it. Room and The Passage are two of my absolute FAVORITE books from the last like five years. I just loved it!!
    And this isn't hate mail or anything, I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just saying. Was this offensive? Gosh, now I'm scared to hit publish your comment...I wasn't trying to be offensive. I was just talking, because we don't have a book club, and a lot of the boat wives don't read anything but Twilight and my five year old just isn't interested in talking with me about books yet...

  6. You and German wouldn't have gotten along.

  7. This has been on my list, too. And since you've reviewed it, I'll hvae to read it now. You are like my personal book selector and you've never let me down. ;)


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