review: room.

by Mindy @ Just A One Girl Revolution on September 29, 2011

in Reviews


I read over 2/3 of this story that pulled me in and wouldn’t let me out until the very last sentence in a day.  Stunning.  Thrilling.  Heartbreaking.

I have heard people rave about Room by Emma Donoghue for awhile now and finally picked up a copy.  Written from the point of view of 5 year old Jack, Room tells his story of living in an 11×11 shed with his 26 year old mom whom he refers to as Ma.

After Old Nick kidnapped and locked Ma up in the shed when she was 19, it’s all she’s known since and the only reality Jack has ever experienced.  He and Ma have created a simple little world in Room, making the best of an otherwise bleak situation.  They read together and Jack watches his friend Dora the Explorer on television, and they even get in a bit of exercise by making a “track” in the room.  It’s all Jack has known and he’s quite happy with their wold.

Most nights, Old Nick will come in after Jack has gone to bed and “squeaks Bed” before leaving.  Ma hides Jack from Old Nick, creating a makeshift bed in Wardrobe.  After Old Nick gets angry with Ma and Jack, he cuts off the electricity to Room, leaving the two in a dire situation most notable with no heat in the cold March temperatures.

As Ma begins to explain their reality to Jack, how they got there, and the world outside, she begins to formulate an escape plan.  She knows if they’re going to survive, it can no longer be in the confines of Room or depending on Old Nick to provide for their basic needs which come in the form of Sunday Treat.  She urges Jack that he needs to be “scave” or scared, but still brave as he is the lynchpin of their chances of getting out of Room.

Donoghue’s riveting tale was a New York Times Book Review Book of the Year, an award well-deserved.  It takes a few pages to acclimate to Jack’s dialect; not only is it that of a young boy, but it’s that of a boy who hasn’t had the normal social interactions of a child.  This is only a minor detail, though.  I quickly became enraptured in the story, my heart breaking for this mother and her son as they try to make their way into the “real world”.

With true stories like that of Jaycee Dugard who experienced a very similar hell as Ma, the most heartbreaking aspect of this story is almost not the story itself, but the reality that things like this do happen in our world.  Room is a horrifying, heartbreaking tale, to be sure, but a book I had an extremely hard putting down.

A definite must read.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Theodora September 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm

This is next on my list!


Stephanie October 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I had to get into the cadence of a five-year-old, but once I got used to the voice, I thought this was a great book. I think that it was much more interesting because it was told through the eyes of a child who knew nothing else and who actually quite liked his life. The story was even more chilling because of that. I agree…absolutely riveting book.
Stephanie recently posted..Looking Back and Forward


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