Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | December 6, 2010

Room – a book review

I don’t get a ton of time to read anymore, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. I recently finished a book that really makes you think and one that I would definitely recommend – Room by Emma Donoghue.

Room is the story of 5 year old Jack and his mother, told in Jack’s voice. Ma was abducted 7 years earlier and has since then been held captive in a sound-proofed storage shed behind her captor’s house. She gave birth to Jack and raised him to the best of her abilities inside this 11×11 foot space. Jack and Ma live in a world that is comforting to him and full of fun things to do – running the “track” around their bed, playing with the “snake” made of egg shells, watching Dora on TV. She has educated him and told him stories that keep his imagination going. To Jack, there is their world and everything else is Outer Space. Their world is safe to him. When Old Nick visits at night, Jack is safely in Wardrobe hidden from his view. (Jack has turned every object into a proper noun, making it a character in his reality)

But of course, Jack’s idyllic world is Ma’s hell where she is trapped and tormented by her abductor/rapist and she continues to try to figure a way out. Every week night they scream and flash lights in hopes that someone might see them through the skylight. They do finally find a way out, and that is when I found myself really thinking about what I had been reading and to both question how Ma did things and how we tend to live our lives.

The author took quite a risk in telling the story from the perspective of a five year old, but she managed to make it work. Jack has innocence and intelligence. The story would not have worked as well if it was not told from his perspective. The reader has to be inside a five year old’s head to understand his security in Room and the fear he faces in Outside. Being told of his discomfort wearing shoes, his inability to climb stairs, his belief in the stories Ma has told him would not be the same as getting it in Jack’s voice.

I don’t want to give away too much, but if anyone reads this book and wants to talk about it, there are some great topics. For anyone on the lookout for good book club read, I would highly recommend this novel.



  1. and book club it we shall!

  2. Is this in paperback or just hard cover?

  3. just in hard cover right now. it was published in September.

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