Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue
January 22, 2012 57 Comments
Room: What it is About
I’m using the description of amazon.com here: “To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.”
Room: What I thought
5 stars (out of 5) I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a book on this subject and then, it being told by a five-year old didn’t appeal either. But this turned out the great book that everyone said it was. It’s not brilliantly brilliant, just a very good book.
Five-year old Jack was an innocent narrator who faithfully told all that happened around him, but interpreted everything with the understanding of a 5-year old. Therefore, some events might have been somewhat disturbing for the reader, but for Jack it was just as it was. This was very well done.
It was interesting to see how Jack was generally contented in his limited world. His mother hadn’t even told him that there was a world “out there”, so he wasn’t missing anything. Whatever he saw on television was not real. Only what happened in the room was real. I found this a very interesting idea. It suggested however, that Ma thought they would never be able to get out. So when they did, Jack was very unprepared for the outside world.
More than that, it seemed that Ma wasn’t prepared, either. She more or less held it all together inside Room, but once out, she couldn’t cope. This was one of the strong points of the book: it didn’t stop at the ‘good ending’, where Ma and Jack were free again, but it explored how free they really were and how they would cope outside. The idea that Jack was keen to go back to Room was very likely; it was an easier life and it felt like home for him.
A great read with lots to think about. Very convincing, too.