Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

4 May

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Book*

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.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.

* Taken from borders.com

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My Review

This book is another one that’s been on the circuit for a while.  I’ve had it on my TBR list for about 6 months.  It was published in September 2010, and still sits on the New York Times Bestseller list (#30 this week).  It’s also my book club’s selection this month.

I found this book hard to put down, very emotional, well paced and extremely well written.  Yet I didn’t find it particularly fun or entertaining – in fact, I’d put it in the category of downright depressing.  The subject matter is heavy and remains so throughout the whole book.

Here’s what I did like:  the pacing.  It was just right.  When I picked up the book I was thinking to myself, “How could a story about a kid and his mom in a 7×7 room be 336 pages?  Grrr Boring!”  But it wasn’t at all.  I nearly read the whole thing in one sitting! 

The author captured the perspective of a 5-year old boy so completely.  I have an almost 5-year-old boy, and I could see traces of his thought process in Jack’s and vice-versa, which is what I would expect.  I loved Jack so much – perhaps it is because of my son that it made him so loveable to me.  I though Ma was written very well too.

I asked myself several times throughout this book if I would have the strength to be like Ma, or would I just give up instead?  I’d like to believe I’d find the strength from somewhere, but it seems like what she did for Jack in that room almost unbelievable. 

This book doesn’t have a ‘happy’ ending.  I found that extremely refreshing and very realistic.  Most situations we deal with end with something a bit more complex than ‘happy’ or ‘sad’. 

I’m glad I read this book, I admire it and the author, and I would recommend it.  But probably not to every reader  – you have to be prepared to appreciate the story for what it is, and expect the strong emotions that will go along with it.  It will make a great discussion book!

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One Response to “Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue”

  1. Stacey May 5, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    I’m putting it on my TBR list. Thanks for the recommendation! I love a good depressing book 🙂

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