Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: Room by Emma Donaghue

Here is a summary of Room from the Hachette website:

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. 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's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating--a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

My Review:
This is the first book that I have read by Donaghue and let me tell you that it was amazing!  I love it when an author can take a character and a situation and bring it to life to me on the page.  This is exactly what happened to me with young Jack.

Jack is the little boy that was born in Room and has never had any exposure to the outside world.  He doesn't know what he is missing outside, because he has never experienced it.  All he knows is the house that his Ma made for him in the small room that contains all of the necessities for someone to stay alive in solitude.

Jack's Ma remembers her life in the outside world before she  was abducted and locked away from society.  She loves her son Jack, but she also longs to have her old life back.  Although she appreciates the companionship with her son, she also desires relationships with other adults, and often when she can't handle life in Room any longer she will mentally retreat to a place that will not allow her to return until she is ready.

I am not going to give any more of this story away as I don't want to ruin it for anyone that hasn't read it yet.  This is a story that could very possibly be pulled right of current headlines and even when people are rescued from these conditions, their lives are never the same.  They must find a way to learn the rules of our society once again and even harder still, is being able to offer trust to any individual who comes in their lives.

This was an amazing story with themes of love, comfort, safety, abduction, and perseverance.  I think this book would make an excellent book club selection, but it also is great for leisure reading on your own.  I highly recommend this novel.

My Rating:  5/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


bermudaonion said...

It took me a little while to get used to Jack's voice but once I did, I loved this book too! It was emotionally draining, though.

Ti said...

I am one of the few who did not like this one. The first half and the second half could have been two different books. In the first half, I had no problems appreciating the world that the author created, although I felt that Jack's voice was not realistic, given his age and experience and personally, I thought using his point of view allowed the author to skim over the bigger issues.

In the second half, I began to not like Ma and it infuriated me that we never got to know her name. She remained "nameless" and it would have been nice to finally get to know her and what she felt during her ordeal, but it never happened and I HATED that she gave up on her own kid when he needed her the most.

The blood is boiling. LOL.

Jo-Jo said...

Kathy: Yes, it was definitely emotionally draining. I remember yelling at the book while I was waiting to meet my daughter at her college library...students must have thought I was nuts.

Ti: For some reason I did not even think of these things while I was reading this book. Maybe because I had just finished a book before reading this one that I didn't really care for. I didn't mean to get you all riled up... lol

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I'm not reading the whole review or the comments because I am half way through the audio version. i am so enthralled. Since I have a 4 year old i am icturing myself through the whole thing. It's so emotional.

Anna said...

I've been curious about this book, but I have a feeling that Jack's voice would annoy me. Great review!

Serena said...

This is one book that has been raved about up and down and I have not read it yet. I should check it out at some point when the TBR pile calms down.

carol said...

I was actually underwhelmed by this one. I think I knew too much about it before I read it.

Jo-Jo said...

Michelle: I'm glad you are enjoying the audioversion. I always wonder if I would have preferred the audio version after I finish a book...or vice versa.

Anna: Like Kathy said, Jack's voice was hard to get used to, but once that caught on it flowed well for me.

Serena: I have a tendency to hold off on those books that are raved about, which is why I am finally reading The Night Circus now.

Carol: I can understand how knowing too much about this novel would prevent your enjoyment. The major points of the novel are pretty important so if that is already known it would be difficult to read. That's why I can't read a book after seeing the movie!

Marie said...

Great review for an amazing book. I took me a little while to get used to the style of writing (I guess, Jack's voice).

Jo-Jo said...

Marie: I'm glad you enjoyed this book too. I agree that Jack's voice was an adjustment.