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  • Room
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4.3 out of 5 stars200
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on November 20, 2013
I read most of this book in one sitting. It haunted and entertained me. As a writer, I was fascinated by the narration, the memorable anecdotes, and the plot. I will study the narrative drive of this book because I really couldn't put it down. This book reminded me that really good novels typically only have a few strong characters. As a mother, I was moved and inspired by the main character's approach to raising Jack. If you are in a reading slump, and you need something to get you back to books, read Room. You'll have no idea what to read next.
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on April 5, 2016
I am Two thirds into the book now and have been compelled to review it because certain aspects of it need to be mentioned For a story that deals with captivity and escape ,it failed to deliver in these portions ....there was no punch to the most expected scene in the story. It went flat. Since this type of story has very few similar works to be compared with, various readers and their reactions have been polarised. What is glaringly obvious is that the author should have told it from the perspective of the mother. The endless child talk[ so precocious to be unbelievable] takes away from the narration and I was skipping paragraphs to try and get to the meaningful parts. Somehow I was not able to empathise with the characters nor was I drawn into the story which I think is due to the narrative style and lack of detailing of the protagonist's life to give weight to her predicament. Even plain documentation of events would have achieved what the author has failed to do. A little spoiler here----How could the mother take such a risk with the life of her child in order to escape. So many aspects of this were glossed over.
A total let down from such a widely acclaimed book!
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on December 3, 2015
Room by Emma Donoghue has been on my radar for a long time, but it kept being pushed to the bottom of my TBR pile. I finally took a stance, though, and pulled it out because I kept seeing promos for the movie coming out and it looks really great, so it was about time I actually read it.

I had read that this was told primarily in the voice of five year old Jack, which kind of worried me. I thought it would be hard to warm up to and difficult to read, and while it is very much childish language, it flows easily as well and doesn’t take a lot of effort to make your way through.

The thing about this though is it doesn’t allow for much background information on the situation or thoughts from Ma. We are really only seeing and learning through the eyes of a five year old and frankly, that gets kind of old quick. The first part of the book is kind of slow as a result; we are basically just taking in the surroundings of Room and learning about Jack as Jack sees Jack.

[MAJOR SPOILERS] That said, what I think I liked best about this book was that it didn’t take the entire book for them to escape, so that kind of slow build did lead to a quick pay off not too far into things. The escape process was pretty quick and maybe a bit rushed over, but I liked that it happened around the middle of the book, so that we had the rest of the story to see how they adapted to the real world and had the opportunity to follow through with their captor.

It was interesting to read about their survival in the real world. About how Jack just wanted to go back to Room, not quite understanding what his reality was there. And how Ma was kind of judged for certain decisions she made in raising Jack, when she had such limited choices and opportunities. That complexity of life after Room was really the most interesting, to be able to see how people deal and cope and express.

This was ultimately an emotional read, obviously it’s a terrible situation and it’s powerful to see them overcome such a thing. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out on screen, from what I can tell it looks like a beautiful and powerful adaptation.

Originally posted on
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on June 14, 2012
This book might just be the best thing I've read in a long time, although it could just be because of how different it is from the books I've been reading lately. My mother in law recommended it to me, saying how amazing the relationship was between mother and son. The story is about a young girl taken captive, held hostage in a garden shed. Although this book is a work of fiction, we all know that these tragic events happen worldwide, and it brings light to the years spent in captivity, and the strength a mother can have to save her son. I'll warn you now that this review is in depth, I don't feel this book can be disucussed without getting into some detail.

When I first started reading, I struggled because it is a not an easy read, not just because the subject matter is so grusome, but because it is "written" by a five year old boy; the choppy sentences, and poor grammer make it difficult to read, but eventually I got used to it.

This book is very graphic, in such an innocent way. Jack has no idea what the creaking bed means, he just counts each springy noise. He doesn't know how his mum got the bruises on her neck, he just notices how they change colour daily. It's disturbing just how much a child sees, and how much they remember, although they might not understand what is going on; they just make up stories in their heads for what makes sense to them.

We all take for granted how much we know, and how much understanding we have of the world around us. All of us accept what we see taking place on TV, although so much of what we see is make-believe, we know that it's not completely fabricated. Being able to interact with different people is a skill that we don't realize we've learnt. We all know not to take certain sayings literally, and try to think how you'd explain different things to a child that doesn't have anything to compare them to.

As I was reading, I never thought for a second that Ma and Jack would escape from the garden shed. It was so exhilerating and climatic, that in turn and by comparison the rest of the book was a let down. After their nightly escape, the book went down hill fast. Days aren't described in their entirety, they are clumped together, speeding up the pase of the book.

Ultimately this book shows how resourceful a person can be when faced with a such horrible situation. It also lets us understand that there are many different "normals." People cannot be judged from the outside, and assessed as "missing out" on something they didn't even know existed.
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on May 5, 2012
When I first read the synopsis about Room - I was skeptical to say the least.

How could a novel written from a five year old's point of view get such high reviews.

My only regret with this book - is that it took me so long to read it!

5-year-old Jack is a great protaganist. This is one of those books where I laughed and cried at the same time. A great peice of literature!

I will admit it took around 15-20 pages to get used to Jack's train of thought. Emma Donoghue does a great job at making this characters voice sound like a typical five year old.

The story starts out light and fun. As it progresses the darkness of the reality of Jack and Ma's situation is revialed.

I am a slow reader. So when I say I read this book in three nights. It means this is a true page turner. I love this book.


SO I am now finished this book. The writing held my attention until the very last page. Definitally a five star book. One that everyone should read. Full of twists and turns. Jack truly steals your heart.

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on March 18, 2012
In picking up the book and reading the first page I was instantly captivated, the book was being narrated by a 5 year old boy. I had only meant to scan a few pages so I could decide whether or not I wanted to read the book that I had heard so many good things about, but when I started reading I couldn't put it down.

Jack and his Ma live in the room, a small garden shed constructed to be their prison. Ma was taken from her college campus when she was nineteen years old. That was seven years ago. Held captive in the room and subjected to her captor Ol' Nick's every demand; Ma eventually becomes pregnant and gives birth to her son Jack. Her whole life becomes her son teaching him everything at the same time shielding him from Ol' Nick by making the child sleep in a small wardrobe during his nightly visits.

After a severe beating by the man Ma decides she has had enough; that she must find a way of escape to save both herself and Jack's lives even though in the past she had made unsuccessful attempts only to enrage the man and be subjected to punishment. In a daring escape young Jack makes contact with a man and his daughter who calls the police and eventually rescues Ma. Once free from their captivity Jack is overwhelmed with the world. He had never been outside so each stimuli would bring him running to his mother for protection.

Through Jack we see the world as he experiences every breeze, insect and even people for the first time often breaking the reader's heart with the realization that this horror actually happens in shocking cases like that of Josef Fritzl.

This is an amazing and heart wrenching read simultaneously thrills and horrifies the reader. With awards an nominations such as Man Booker Prize Nominee (2011), Indies Choice Book Award for Fiction (2011), Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize (2010)and Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book in Caribbean and Canada (2011), Emma Donoghue proves she is a gifted author.
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on July 10, 2011
I was a bit nervous about reading this book. I didn't know if I could handle the subject matter. I decided to just read the first chapter and decide from there. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! Other reviewers have done a good job of telling you what the book was about. I found that 'Room' reminded me of two other works; 'The Lovely Bones', and the movie 'A Beautiful Life'. In both of these works the creators show the human side of inhumane situations. In 'The Lovely Bones' the author did not deal so much with the horror of the rape/murder as she did with the events that surrounded it. In 'A Beautiful Life' a father shields his son from the horror of a Natzi Concentration Camp using love, humor and games. In 'Room' the focus of the story is on the happy moments in the life that the mother creates for her son in spite of their 12' x 12' prison. A well written and thought provoking novel. It would be great for discussing at a Book Club.
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on November 19, 2011
(...)It starts with a five year old talking: Jack. At first you think it is a joke but everything seems serious so you keep on frowning trying to make sense of it all. Little by little you start figuring out that there is a mother as well, and they are both in a room rather small, eleven by eleven; you find out the dimensions when they find out, as they realise how to measure without a tape measure (that would be a waste of the 'Sunday treat').
The intrigue goes on and on, everything seems surreal to the extreme as you discover that the boy thinks the room is the whole world and everything else is 'in TV'. His hair has not been cut since the day he was born and he breast feeds. Baby Jesus gives them food and the face of God is to be seen through the skylight. The boy turns five and you are puzzled as per why his mother cannot give him any other present than a drawing she made, drawing he has to hide in Wardrobe, where he sleeps. So you start counting possibilities: aliens? Year 2150 something? No one else on planet Earth which actually does not exist anymore?
Well, mystery solved when 'old Nick' appears into the picture. Jack is hidden in the wardrobe and counts his teeth to fall asleep, then counts the squeaking that Bed makes when 'old Nick' goes on Bed with Ma. Jack is allowed to go on Bed under 'Duvet' only after 'old Nick' is gone. Bingo, they are hostages, she has been kidnapped, the boy was born there, he does not know anything else. Intrigue becomes interest as you want to know more, you cannot believe that this is happening and every detail is a crescendo of clues that you are trying to assemble for a better image of the whole puzzle.(...)
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on May 6, 2016
This was a very gripping story told by a 5 yr. old boy talking about the only world he knows - living with his mom as captives of a psychotic man for all of his life in one small room, a garden shed. Interesting to hear what his thoughts and perspective were of his surroundings and his daily life. Not understanding that they were prisoners, he enjoyed himself and was happy, thanks to the love and determination of his mother. She devoted all her energy teaching him language, math, science, etc. and made sure they exercised routinely. I found it hard to put the book down, hoping that she would finally figure out how to get them out of there safely. The last part of the book seemed to go too fast though, as if the author needed to finally end the story and she moved the plot along quickly. But all in all it was a very interesting read.
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on March 22, 2011
This book is incredible. It was hard to put it down. The relationship and the love between mother and son was so touching!
It is a horrific situation. I just don't understand why the mother took so long to take some action. 7 years of imprisionement is too much to bear and to be a victim of a sexual predator is even harder to accept.
Although the book is written on a perspective of a 5 years old boy I thought that the author did a fantastic job. I felt the love. I felt the pain. When Jack gets himself wrapped in a carpet, I felt his terror. When Jack finally gets to see the "outer word", I felt his confusion and insecurity.
I thought that the book was touching (if not heartbreaking) and funny at times. Jack's voice was a sweet voice that will stay with me for awhile.
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