Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Title: Room
Author: Emma Donoghue
Publisher: Picador
Release Date: September 13th 2010
Pages: 401
Read it in: 2 Days

Source: Teacher

You can buy it on amazon.

Synopsis: Goodreads:

In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma. But Jack is different in a big way–he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and an unnerving nighttime visitor known as Old Nick. For Jack, Room is the only world he knows, but for Ma, it is a prison in which she has tried to craft a normal life for her son. When their insular world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are piercing and extraordinary. Despite its profoundly disturbing premise, Emma Donoghue’s Room is rife with moments of hope and beauty, and the dogged determination to live, even in the most desolate circumstances. A stunning and original novel of survival in captivity, readers who enter Room will leave staggered, as though, like Jack, they are seeing the world for the very first time. –Lynette Mong

My Review: Warning, this book deals with adult themes.

Weirdly enough, I wasn’t actually reading this book for pleasure, nor was I reading this one for review… I was reading this because my teacher suggested ‘Room‘ as a book for Language Acquisition. Now I see why. It really does link in a lot with my course. First of all you have the character of Jack, the person whom the story is told through, who is brought up in Room and therefore knows nothing of the outside world. The story is both heartbreaking and fascinating. Needless to say, Room quickly became something I was reading for pleasure.

Jack refers to inanimate objects as people, everything in ‘Room’ is personified – including Room itself. Jack’s speech has developed as normal, after all he had ‘Ma‘ there, who had lived in the outside world for 19 years before she was kidnapped by ‘Old Nick‘. He really isn’t much different from a normal kid, except for the fact that he doesn’t know about the outside world, the stuff he can have and do and wear are limited, and he knows that his Ma is terrified of Old Nick, and when Old Nick ‘creaks’ the bed, Jack is scared too.

We hear stories all the time of kids being kidnapped, some never end well. The author Emma Donoghue created a fictional version of one of these kidnappings where the character of Ma is kidnapped as a teenager. Ma is repeatedly raped, abused, and kept hidden away in what is known as ‘Room’. She is stolen from her world, dragged into another one, and then births two children into that world also. The first, a baby girl, isn’t alive, she dies when she’s born as Old Nick doesn’t know how to help Ma save the little girl when she’s born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck – she was born blue, and dead.

Jack, the five year old, is born successfully as Ma doesn’t let Old Nick in the room, and she does it all herself.  Ma brings Jack up, keeps him out of Old Nick’s way, and lets no harm come to him. She plays games with him, she feeds him, she teaches him how to read, write, spell and do maths. She’s a very good mother. Just with a secret: There’s a world outside Room.

I genuinely enjoyed reading this book, though it was incredibly heartbreaking. Jack was so brave, and Ma was even braver. Together they both escaped. I wish all kidnappings stories had an ending like Room. If you’re an English Language A Level student, or you study Language Acquisition, I certainly suggest reading Room. But, I also suggest reading room if you like books that deal with tough subjects in a brilliant way – other examples include 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Before I Die by Jenny Downham.

Rating: 5/5


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