Wednesday, May 4, 2011

'Room' by Emma Donoghue

Publisher: Picador

ISBN: 978-0-330-51902-1

Length: 401 Pages:

What the blurb says:

'It's Jack's birthday, and he's excited about turning five. He lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real- only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there's a world outside...'

Opening line: 'Today I'm five.'

What's right with this novel?

There's a lot right with this novel in my opinion. The plot is original and plausible, even with the extreme situation that Jack and his Ma are in. Although the environment that the two are in is limited, Emma Donoghue is able to create an interesting story all of the way through. I also thought that at no point during the book, did the plot wain at all. I was compelled to read on, to find out what was going to happen next. In fact this book was so good, I finished it in less than 2 days, which is a rarity for me.

The writing in this novel is superb. Donoghue's complex mix of both children's and adult vocabulary, give Jack a authentic voice. I particularly liked how Jack used the names of objects such as 'Plant' and convey them as additional characters within his world. When he referred to something within Room, he would address them as 'He' or 'She' rather than 'it'.

Emma Donoghue has crafted her characters so well, that I believed in Jack and Ma. I felt a connection with Jack, particularly during the second half of the novel. I also felt that by using Jack as the main protagonist, Donoghue successfully describes the horrific events that took place in Room, without being overly graphic, but still creating an impact.

On first glance, you would think that 'Room' is a depressing and disturbing read. There are disturbing parts within this novel, but overall I think that 'Room' is an uplifting, optimistic read. It conveys the strength of the human spirit and, even though Jack's situation is extreme, this novel explores the general experience of how a child discovers the world and finds their independence.

What is wrong with this novel?

Nothing. The only thing wrong with this novel, is that it had to end.

Is this worth a read?

Yes. There are a lot of novels which have undeserved hype surrounding them. 'Room' however, deserves all of the praise it receives.. This is a fantastic read.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?


  1. I love, love, love this book for all the reasons you stated. I also found it uplifting and will never forget little Jack.

  2. Haven't read it, mainly because of all the hype, but this is excatly the kind of review that will make me change my mind - thanks!

  3. Melissa, I'm glad that you liked the novel too, especially picking out the same things that I enjoyed about this book.

    Deborah, It's great that I might have changed your mind about reading this novel! I'd be interested to see what you think about this book. It's interesting to get different opinions on the books I read.

    Thanks for your comments.

  4. This book was chilling and confusing and brilliantly written. One of my all time favorites for sure.
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  5. A simple sentence like "I'm always listening" from its narrator Jack, takes new and profound meaning when reading Emma Donoghue remarkable new novel. Its unlike anything I've ever read. Others have written extensive reviews so i'll just say read this book.

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