Author: Emma Donoghue
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date: September 10th, 2010
Genre: Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Room is where Jack and Ma live. Jack was born there and it’s the only place he has ever known. In his whole life, Jack has never been apart from Ma. Together they fill their days by doing their exercises, cooking, colouring, reading, watching TV and playing. Ma tries to keep Jack busy throughout the day and keep him away from Old Nick at night by hiding him the closet until it is safe. Room has no windows, and the only glimpse of the outside world is through the skylight. For Jack, Room is the world. The things he sees on TV are just pretend, like Dora, stores and restaurants. Now that Jack is five, Ma thinks he can handle more grown up things. When Jack learns about the world outside of Room and that some of the things he sees on TV are real, his whole world begins to change.
It took me a while to get into this book, which is narrated by its five-year-old protagonist. As Jack was introducing the reader to his life in Room, I was a bit bored. However, by the time Ma had told Jack about the real world and her life outside, I couldn’t put Room down. The use of the child narrator was a good choice on Donoghue’s part. It did take me about 50 pages to get used to the style of narration, but choosing to tell this story through the perspective of a child added a lot to the novel as a whole. I feel that Room would have been too depressing if told through the eyes of Ma. In the beginning, the reader (like Jack,) doesn’t know the history of Ma’s confinement, which created suspense in my case (I had no idea what this book was about.) Jack’s understanding of the world is very interesting- how many times in realistic fiction do we get to see our world through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before?
In this case, I think that it would be a good idea to read this book with very little knowledge concerning the plot. I can’t go into great detail about this books faults without spoiling. Some things that happened were a bit far fetched, such as the events at the end of Part 3. Ma’s actions later on in the book were also unbelievable and seemed to go against her character established earlier on. Although these things annoyed me, they didn’t stop from enjoying Room as a whole.
This is the kind of book that’s hard to put down and even harder to stop thinking about, even weeks later. I thought it was an interesting, well thought out and creative take on something horrifying.
“The world is always changing brightness and hotness and soundness, I never know how it’s going to be the next minute.”