Room is by far the most intriguing and unusual book I've read this year. On the surface, it is a chilling account of a heinous crime in which a young woman is abducted, repeatedly raped and locked in a fortified sound-proof room for seven years. What makes the story so compelling is that it's told from the point of view of her innocently precocious five-year-old son, Jack, who has spent his entire life inside the room, completely isolated from the outside world. But Room is much more than just a heart-wrenching crime story. It's also a fascinating exploration of the way in which the mind constructs its own unique version of reality, completely subjective in nature and shaped by its environment. In Jack's case, the extreme lack of sensory stimuli in his restricted environment severely distorts his concept of reality, impairing his ability to function in the outside world. By using Jack as narrator the author allows us to experience the boy's distress and confuson firsthand. It also gives her the opportunity to infuse some comic relief into the story as Jack dizzily tries to wrap his brain around the hundreds of new sensations that confront him. Seeing things through Jack's eyes, we also come to appreciate the incredibly strong bond that exists between mother and child. Despite their deprived circumstances, or perhaps because of them, Jack's mother is determined to nurture and educate her son to the best of her ability, preparing him for the day when they will be freed from captivity. Throughout their ordeal, she shows remarkable courage, resilience and single-mindedness, never abandoning hope and never allowing Jack to sense the grim reality of their plight. Room is a powerful, thought-provoking novel and a one-of-a-kind reading experience that is not to be missed.