Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Jack lives in Room with his Mother. Jack just turned five years old. Room is all he knows. Nothing exists outside Room but Old Nick who brings their food and necessities and sometimes stays over in the night making the bed creak. But Jack is hidden then for his Mother does not want Old Nick to see him.

Days in Room are filled with imaginative activities, some hard to get television like “Dora the Explorer” and the reading of favorite storybooks again and again. But what is outside Room? Jack believes nothing at all. Everything beyond Room is made up obviously since he has never been outside. The skylight shows outside but still in Jack’s mind it is a vague idea that barely exists.

In a story of true tragedy Emma Donoghue has created a world of imagination, feeling and truth in her novel about a woman and her son kept prisoner in a single locked room for years on end. Mirroring recent real life news stories, Room really explores the psychological and emotional impact an event such as this might have not only on a woman who had a life before her captivity but also the effects on a child born into a life contained in one single room.

I have learned in life there are some books that while they may be hard to read for us as readers- are important books to be read because of the difficult subject matter they address. These works of fiction and sometimes truth represent the sides of the world we sometime like to forget exist, the true evil that lurks in our midst. Room is one of those types of books.

I would compare it to The Lovely Bones, A Child Called It and Living Dead Girl. I won’t lie at times I kept putting the book down. Almost afraid of what might happen next but imagine the fear felt by those who have lived through horror stories such as these. I read on and in doing so found a great respect for the introspective method in which Donoghue really dug into not only her characters but their psyches. The more I contemplated her work…the more impressed I truly was.

While the majority of these books get a large amount of publicity, most of which is greatly deserved, some readers still just cannot bring themselves to actually read them.  However in reading these books we learn about the evil in the world, we enrich our minds with what human beings are capable of and we hopefully obtain information that might help us someday if placed in just the right situation to help another human being.

So what do you think about books such as this? What ones have you read? How did they affect you? Do you think reading them is important or are they sometimes more for shock factor in your opinion?

7 Comments

Filed under Adult Books, New Books

7 responses to “Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

  1. I liked this book as well even though not as much as others (my thoughts: http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=820) – the second half of the book lost me.

    • stilettostorytime

      We have many of the same opinions on the second half…I believe. All in all found it psychologically fascinating. Although there were some highly improbably scenes…I won’t spoil for others here but I did comment on your review. Thanks!

  2. I had trouble connecting with Jack at first, but he quickly grew on me. I met Emma Donoghue and I don’t think she wrote this book for shock factor. I think the purpose of the story was to show human resilience.

    • stilettostorytime

      That’s how I felt too….All in all I really did enjoy the book and it wasn’t the “tough” read I had expected. There is definitely a reason it has been an “it” book of late. Where did you meet her Kathy?

  3. I also think this was an amazing book, and I’m glad I read it. I also had to put it down at times– particularly as I was listening to the audio, and it felt very real at times.

    I’m glad I read it with a book club, and had a chance to discuss it there after reading. I gained an appreciation for some of the aspects that didn’t work as well for me while I was in the middle of it, particularly one key decision in the second half…

    I certainly don’t think this book was written for the shock value, and that isn’t the reason to read it. I think that is also true of The Lovely Bones, and I think that is some of what was lost in the movie.

  4. stilettostorytime

    I feel like I need to re-phrase what I meant about the “shock factor”. I definitely don’t think the books are written for “shock factor” for they are about events that truly happen in this world, events we should be aware of. However I often wonder if the books sometimes get so “big” and popular a little bit due to the “shock factor”….does that make more sense?

  5. Pingback: Room by Emma Donoghue up for grabs on Freado | Freado Blog

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