Saturday, January 8, 2011

CBRIII: Book#3: Room by Emma Donoghue

I never thought I would ever read a novel written in the first person voice of a five year old boy. I chose to read Room when I saw it listed on a Best of 2010 list. The only description there was basic and enough to get me interested in reading it. I really had no real idea of what I was in store for and I was riveted when I began to read.

Jack is a five year old boy that lives with his Ma. Their home is Room and Jack was born in Room, on Rug. His Ma has been in Room for seven years. Room belongs to Old Nick, the man that brings Sundaytreat, some food and supplies, and he is the one that put Jack's Ma in Room.

Jack only knows the walls of Room. In fact, everything in Room has a name. Wardrobe where Jack sleeps. Skylight where God's Face smiles in the room. Lamp. Bath. Eggsnake. Everything in Room has a name and everything in Room is all that Jack knows. He has been taught math, reading, writing by his Ma. He has also been taught that everything he sees on the television is not real. One day, Jack's Ma decides that it is time to escape Old Nick. This is when Jack learns the truth about himself, about Ma, and about Room.

Donoghue has down an excellent job bringing the jarring story of Jack and his Ma to life. It is even more incredible when you think about the entire story being told by a five year old. A book about an abduction and of a woman and her son being held captive would be emotional and rich when told from an adult's point of view. When you give the power of narration to the child, the entire situation becomes even more confusing, frightening, and cruel. Revelations are more genuine and innocent when filtered through the eyes of Jack.

I just wrote at length about this novel and then realized that I was revealing spoilers. I don't want to do that with this book any more than I did with The Keep. This is another novel that needs to be experienced and not just described to you in detail.


  1. I read this last month, and I also really liked it. Great review. I want to pick up The Keep based on your review, too.

  2. Great review; I'll have to read this one. Your comments about the story being through the eyes of a child is interesting. If you haven't read "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls, I highly recommend it. It's one of my favorites and is told from the perspective of a child, which gives everything in the book an interesting perspective.

  3. I read this book with my mouth hanging open and lived in it for several days (read: daze) after finishing. Not great literature, I confessed later, very reluctantly. But the child's voice IS the journey, and his story is gruesome... and trying to see him and his existence from his mother's point of view is soulically excruciating for another mother.

    If you search for new perspectives on the world, try this one on... it had a way of changing everything.

  4. I agree that you just need to experience this novel. I had a hard time adjusting to the "syntax" of Jack's voice, but I felt that Emma Donoghue really explored the plot enough to satisfy the reader (i.e. what happens after the main event (don't want to give it away)) Nice review! Happy Reading!