Friday, July 05, 2013

Book Review: Room

I've been seeing this one around awhile. Everyone and their mom has read it, and almost everyone gave  it rave reviews. Yet, I wasn't fussed. I didn't feel the need to run out and buy it. But, then, I visited a friend of mine in Beijing, and saw this sitting on her shelf. She mentioned that she was done with it, and that I should feel free to borrow it. I'm glad I did.

{Source: Goodreads}

Room tells the story of Jack and Ma who live in, well, Room. Everything Jack as ever known has been in Room. Jack and Ma's day is centered around a schedule, and Jack interacts with things in Room like Toilet, Dresser, Wardrobe, Track, etc. Sometimes, they watch TV, which Jack believes is make-believe and the TV shows depict people on other planets. Throughout the narration {which is done by Jack} we come to realize that Jack and Ma are being held captive by a kidnapper, Old Nick, and that Jack's mother has been here for longer than Jack has been alive. As conditions worsen and Old Nick becomes more and more unpredictable {and Jack gets older, and bigger - too big for room}, Ma comes up with a plan to help them escape.

This novel is a fast read owing mostly to the narrator. Seeing captivity through the eyes of a five year old is enlightening and heartbreaking all at the same time. You're simultaneously appalled and amazed: here is a little boy who knows nothing else and think that this is normal. He's seemingly well-adjusted given the circumstances, but Ma locks in in Wardrobe at night when Old Nick "visits." When you realize what that means, that Jack hides in a wardobe and counts the "creaks" of the bed, it's pretty awful.

In general, I found Jack to be a frustrating narrator. He argues with his mom, he asks weird questions, and sometimes I wanted him to just do what he's told! However, I think this adds to the book. How many five year-olds do you know that aren't exasperating at times? And then, you remember at this little boy's situation, and you realize just how strong Ma is to not only have made a life for herself and Jack in Room but to also have made a daring escape plan. All of this with a typical five year-old who is full of energy and questions. Remarkable. Donaghue did a good job with this one.

What have you read lately?


  1. This has been on my list for a long time too, and like you, I didn't feel compelled to pick it up. Good review! I might have to bump it up a few books. :)

  2. I'm still on the fence with reading Room. I feel like it was just upset me, but I also cry at commercial and when the news is on, so yea....

    Thanks for linking up!

  3. i loved this book,even though it is incredibly freaky and disturbing. it was such a unique story to tell and from a unique narrator too!

  4. i really enjoyed this book. the first 75 pages were pretty dull & i just couldnt get into it ; but after that, *bam* i was hooked!

  5. The ending was frustrating for me. I felt like once they were free, the story wasn't conclusive enough.