Author: Emma Donoghue
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
First Published: 2010
Page Count: 321
Film/ TV Adaptation:Yes*
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Though tough to read, it is probably one of the most accurate looks into a horrible reality that many women endure today.
*Two Part Story
“Everyone’s got a different story.” Jack and his ma live in an eleven-by-eleven foot space they call Room. Their entire world is Room; it is where they eat, sleep, play, and learn. Room is the only home Jack has ever known, but for ma, it is the prison where a man Jack calls Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Jack may never want to leave his only home, but his ma knows that they need to find a way out of Room before it’s too late for either of them.
This is such an interesting story and it is written so realistically it almost feels like non-fiction. We see it in the news everyday: some young girl kidnapped by a pedophile or worse, someone with sick tendencies that has flown under the radar. The first half of the book details this type of enslavement but from the eyes of ma and her son, Jack, the product of her captivity. It really is incredible to read a first hand account (even if it is fictional) of life in a cell completely isolated from the world. Add to that the fact that ma has to not only look after herself but help develop as best she can her young child. However, what I liked about this story is that this scenario only makes up half of the book. Just observing their life in their prison would have gotten old quickly and potentially led to an unsatisfactory conclusion. I don’t want to give too much away, but by the end of the book you will feel that you got to see the main characters through the entire life cycle of this horror story.
The one thing that takes getting used to is the narration. The book is narrated entirely from the perspective of five-year old Jack. I really had trouble with this initially because he, well, acts like a five-year old. He has a short attention span, his way of speaking and describing things is primitive, and his tantrums can be annoying. I really struggled along with ma when she tries to get Jack to understand the outside world. I got used to reading the book through Jack’s eyes but there were always moments where my patience was tested.
Room is definitely a book to check out but I don’t know if I would rush out to read it. I enjoyed it, but it might become a forgettable book in the years to come when the movie and Oscar hype is over surrounding this story. However, definitely pick it up if you’re interested.
* Film Adaptation: (Starring Brie Larson 2015)