Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue was recommended to me by a friend a few months back and I just got around to reading it.

Room by Emma Donoghue
Room by Emma Donoghue

Jack is five years old.

Room is 12 feet by 12 feet.

Jack was born in Room, raised in Room and has never been outside.

But Jack doesn’t live alone, he lives with his Ma who educates him, plays with him and takes good care of him. Only at night are they separated when Ma puts Jack into the wardrobe whilst Old Nick visits and brings them food.

The tragic truth is that Old Nick has held Ma captive for 7 years, even though it’s this small space is all Jack has ever known – they need to escape.

I wasn’t really sure about this book – a different perspective is always an interesting read but a 5 year old? That worried me.
Thankfully Jack is well spoken from 5 years of one to one with his Ma – his language and sentences aren’t perfect so it takes a short while to get used to reading slightly off sentences but it’s completely readable.

It’s a strange, endearing and tear-worthy mix of innocence and the horror of the situation. You can gather what awful things are really happening through Jack’s narration but Jack is so innocent he almost brings a lightness to atmosphere.

And after all that horror, we get to see the world – the “outside” through Jack’s eyes. A 5 year old who has never seen anything outside of Room before in his life. He’s amazed, horrified, scared, excited but most of all – he is brave – brave for his Ma.

The bond between Jack and his Ma is tear-jerking and I say this as somewhere who rarely sheds a tear reading a book, in fact I can’t remember a time I have (unless through laughter).

Ma herself is a very well developed character – she is strong for Jack and has carved out a life within Room for him as best as she can. She is not without her limits.

It’s great to see both characters progress and in a way “come of age” (all over again for Ma), as well as see the story unfold.

I could not put this book down, I always wanted to know what was going to happen and how this all happened. How Jack will react to things.
I loved this book, it’s firmly one of my favourites now and I will probably read it again. I highly recommend this book, it’s really worth reading – even if your not a fan of this particular genre.

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