Room by Emma Donoghue Review

Photo from Goodreads

This book has been on my to read list for a while now and I finally got around to reading it this past week. I’m giving it three and a half stars.

          It was definitely a creative concept. The narrator is a five-year-old boy named Jack, who lives in an 11 by 11 room with his Ma. It doesn’t take long into the story to figure out that Jack and his mother are being kept against their wills. It becomes obvious that Ma was kidnapped and sexually assaulted multiple times, and ended up becoming pregnant with Jack.

Ma (we never learn her real name) has taught Jack that everything in “Outside” is made up in the T.V. that they have. Jack wholeheartedly believes the story and believes that Room, where the two are being kept, is the whole world.

At first, I would get annoyed at times with Jack being the narrator because of improper grammar and whatnot, which was the author’s way of capturing Jack’s voice. While I do think the author’s approach to writing the way a five-year-old would speak was pretty ingenious, it became frustrating because it left you wanting to know more of the story.

But however, that’s what made the idea behind the story of a kidnapped young woman and her child bearable. Since Jack is so young and doesn’t truly realize what is happening, it makes the story lighter in a way. If I had read it from Ma’s point of view, I probably would have become too emotional to get all the way through it.

I enjoyed the second half of the story much more than I did the first half. There was a lot more going on and a lot more emotion in the second half. The first half of the story felt monotonous to me. They basically did the same thing everyday, which of course makes sense since they can’t leave the room. I kept reading just to get to when Ma would teach Jack something else about the outside world.

Slowly, Ma starts to introduce Jack to the idea that everything they see in T.V. is actually real. She starts coming up with a plan to escape Room, using Jack brilliantly, in my opinion, to get away from their captor.

Warning, there are some spoilers ahead.

I am notorious at reading ahead in books and this was no different, mostly because the first half of the story is a little slow moving. But once I got past the part where Ma and Jack are finally able to escape, things started to pick up a lot more.

I’ve always been curious about kidnap victims’ lives after they’ve been found or escaped, so this is where I really got into the story. I appreciated that the author took into consideration how new everything was for Jack, and Ma’s emotional and mental health state.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. I didn’t completely love it but I would recommend Room to anyone who enjoys unique perspectives.

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