Review: Room (Emma Donoghue)

Emma Donoghue - RoomGoodreads Summary: 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.

This review may contain spoilers so do not read on if you consider reading the book and do not want to know what‘s happening in advance.

My Thoughts: This book was given to me by a lovely colleague who shares her interest in books and reading with me. We often exchange book recommendations and so far they all have been great! The same applies to Room! I absolutely loved it!!!! It is a complete new and unique story because it is written from the perspective of a five year old. This makes it hard in the beginning because, of course he is not using correct grammar and thus, it can be difficult sometimes to understand what he is trying to say – especially if you are not a native speaker. But even though this is a little hurdle in the beginning, you‘ll soon get used to it and start loving this little fellow who describes things in a completely different way than an adult person would. Also, the story becomes much more authentic through the style of writing. As a reader you really have the impression that it is a five year old speaking to you.

The way Emma Donoghue has written this story is totally amazing. In the beginning you have no idea what is going on. You only know that this little boy is in a room with his mum but you have no idea what kind of room it is, why they are there and what this is all about. Bit by bit you learn more about what happened to them and that they cannot leave the room because it is locked and that there is a man bringing them all they need every night. Since this is all written from the perspective of a five year old you really have to think about what is going on because he is not describing things we would usually do because he does not understand them the way we do. This makes it extremely interesting.

The most compelling bit of the story is in the middle when they make a plan to escape from their prison and figure out a way to do it. Jack, the five year old, is the person who has to play dead and rescue his mum through getting help in the “outside”. I was literally holding my breath and hoping that he would manage to do that. In fact, he just learned that there was an “outside” a couple of days before the escape. That means everything is totally confusing for him. He does not know what is happening outside and has no idea about anything. I cannot believe how compelling this story became so that I was extremely relieved when he managed to tell the police about “room” and when his mum was finally rescued. It felt as I was part of the story.

The rest of the book talks about the time after their escape and how they manage to settle in the real world. For Jack, everything is completely new and only slowly he begins to understand what is going on. Step after step he takes and learns more about this big world outside. Sometimes, he wants to go back to the room and does not understand why his mum does not want to go there. For him it is his home and what he is used to. He does not see that it was a crime that they were locked up there. For him that was just normal.

Even though the story contains extremely sad things like rape, being locked up and almost suicide, I was never feeling really sad because Jack managed to tell this story in a totally unexpected way that makes me just love him and hope that he will have a wonderful life after his rescue. I saw the world from a completely different perspective and it made me think about millions of things which I truly enjoyed.

This novel is a masterpiece and I hope that it is going to be read by many many people out there because it is beautifully written and I am still impressed by the way Emma Donoghue managed to put herself in the position of a five year old in order to write this brilliant story.

She has written more books than Room and I am definitely going to read more of her novels because I think she is a great author!

You can find out more about Emma Donoghue here.

My Rating: ★★★★

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One Response to Review: Room (Emma Donoghue)

  1. I loved this book, though it was absolutely terrifying in places (more than some pure horror novels even!) A lot of people hated the second half though, so I wrote a defense of sorts of it here:

    http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/02/books-you-must-read-emma-donoghue-room.html

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