Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room is a disturbingly great novel. I’ve been thinking ahead to my top ten books of 2010 list (which I’ll put out in January when I’m actually through the year 2010 to make sure I don’t miss any great books I read at the end of the year), and I know for sure that this book will be on the top of my list!

Room is the story of a five-year old child named Jack. He has a loving “Ma” and enjoys life with her in “Room.” Room is an eleven by eleven space that includes the entire world for Jack. He lovingly points to the stain on the rug where he was born, enjoys exercising with Ma, their meals, reading books, and having “scream” time each day. Almost every night “Old Nick” visits while Jack sleeps in the wardrobe. Jack believes that the things he sees on TV are all make believe and that there is not world outside of Room.

After Jack’s fifth birthday, Ma tells him the truth. She has been a prisoner of Old Nick for the past seven years since she was kidnapped from her college campus at the age of 19. There is an entire world outside of Room, and Room is Ma’s prison. At first Jack is unable to accept this fact, but then he agrees to help Ma with her daring escape. Will they succeed?

I literally couldn’t put Room down. This novel kept me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t stop reading it until it was finished. The characters were fantastic and wonderfully drawn. Jack was a very unique narrator. Emma Donoghue did a fantastic job of writing the entire novel through the eyes of a five-year old. As a mother of a 4-year old boy, this novel rang very true as the thoughts and perspective of a young child. The only time I was annoyed was that they somehow were able to get Nickelodeon cable shows such as Dora the Explorer on their TV with bunny ears. But that is a very minor detail!

I first learned about this novel through praise on Jennifer Weiner’s blog and a great review on NPR. The praise was well deserved. Room is a unique, riveting novel. Through the eyes of a five-year old child, what constitutes life and love is put in a whole new perspective. It is so good; I’m having a hard time trying to describe why I loved it!!

One of my favorite quotes from the novel:

“Also everywhere I’m looking at kids, adults mostly don’t seem to like them, not even the parents do. They call the kids gorgeous and so cute, they make the kids do the thing all over again so they can take a photo, but they don’t want to actually play with them, they’d rather drink coffee talking to other adults. Sometimes there’s a small kid crying and the Ma of it doesn’t even seem to hear.”

This quote made me sad as a mother. I would like to play with my kids more than I do, but dishes, chores, etc. sometimes keep you too busy to just enjoy life with kids.

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. It sounds amazing, and is on my to buy list. You can win a marked up copy (one of a kind from the author herself) here though:


  2. Laura, I know I will read this book! It's on the top of your list of 10 best books of 2010, and it's also on the NY Times top 10 list. Sounds like such a disturbing yet engrossing book. Terrific review!

  3. I know a lot of people feel the same way that you do about this one. Some not so much but I figure anything that gets the kind of response that this one is getting is worth reading.