Wednesday, November 25, 2015


by Emma Donoghue
published: Little Brown and Company, 2010
pages: 321

Jack and Ma have always been in Room.  They eat and play and work and watch TV in Room.  Jack has all he needs and all there is is Room.  Occasionally Old Nick will come at night, but Jack has never seen him because Ma won't let him.  Then one day Ma and Jack have a chance to escape, but will they escape and what will happen if they do.

I've been on the fence about reading this book for ages, and I picked it up because it was my book club book for the month.  I was overwhelmed by it.

This book covers a very sensitive and traumatic topic.  Never in a million years would I wish kidnapping on anyone, and hearing the events of the story from a 5-year-olds point of view make me that much more uncomfortable.  He literally knows nothing but the room he was born in and he has trouble comprehending the world outside.  He doesn't understand why his mother would want to leave the room either.  It's heartbreaking and increasingly troubling to read.  Frankly, it got a bit annoying and irritating as well.

One thing I did enjoy about the book is that it deals with the aftermath of captivity.  Very rarely does a book talk about what happens after the escape/rescue/tragedy/loss.  Half of this book is devoted to that, to the reentry of the characters into the world and how the world responds to them.  Ma and Jack aren't normal, they don't come from a normal situation but to be treated as celebrities because of something terrible is strange.  There is so much insight to dealing with life after and the healing process for both Jack and his Ma.

If this hadn't been my book club book for the month, I probably wouldn't have finished this book.  I wanted to like this book.  I wanted to be moved by this book, but I just wasn't. The movie adaptation is coming out fairly soon, but honestly, I'm not sure I want to see it.

Stars: 2/5


"Talented, versatile Donoghue relates a searing tale of survival and recovery, in the voice of a five-year-old boy..."
     -Kirkus Review

"The stars are in perfect alignment for Emma Donoghue's new novel, Room....And the topic couldn't be more provacative."
     -USA Today

"...little has been written about the pain of re-entry, and Donoghue's bravado in investigating that potentially terrifying transformation grants the novel a frightening resonance that will keep readers rapt."
     -Publisher's Weekly

A 2015 Full House Challenge book. 
An Ultimate Teen Reads Challenge book.

1 comment:

  1. There was a lot of buzz for this one a few years back and I remember being tempted to pick it up - even though it is SO NOT a 'me' book. Reading your review now, I feel like I'd end up feeling more along the lines of how you felt with this one. It sounds harrowing and disturbing to be sure, and I do like that it deals with the aftermath of their traumatic experiences but I have a feeling I just couldn't deal with it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! ♥