Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Challenge criteria: The first book you see in a bookstore

Blurb: 

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.


Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Image from Goodreads

NB: This will be reviewed in regards to the novel and will not reference the film.

What I liked: 

I’ve seen a lot of reviews slating the writing style, that it’s a little childish. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR NARRATOR IS FIVE.

I actually loved that it was narrated from Jack’s point of view. It made moments such as Ma telling him about the outside world, and his subsequent discovery of such, a lot more real.

You can see and feel the emotions these characters go through with each scene. Jack’s complete bewilderment at things so mundane to us, like going to the shops and paying for things. Ma’s frustration when she tells him of Outside. It was all very real. The language in the narration is incredible.

I also loved that we never got a physical description of Old Nick. It made it all the more terrifying, because as Joy found out when it happened to her, it can be absolutely anyone on the street. Boy did that revelation make for some uncomfortable train journeys.

What I didn’t like:

No matter what the circumstance, breast feeding your five year old is a bit off.

Out of five?:

Five. Terrifying, but among the best books I’ve read so far this year.

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11 thoughts on “Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

  1. Read this when it first came out and agree it’s a tense and cleverly crafted story… very difficult to pull off a 5yr old narrative but she does it deftly.

    Have you tried her short stories too: Kissing the Witch, Astray and Touchy Subjects are great collections.

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