Room by Emma Donoghue

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.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.


This was another audio book pick for me, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this story. The audio book was done extremely well, with different actors (is that what you call them? readers?) reading each part. The story is told from the perspective of Jack, which makes for an entertaining and interesting read. Because Room was the only thing Jack knew, having never left it, his perceptions of the "outside" world were both hilarious and heartbreaking. The narrative is full of the innocence and naivete that one would expect from a five year old narrator.

The relationship between Jack and his mother are at the heart of this story. His relationship with his mother was touching and a bit odd. Cut off entirely from the world, these two did what they could to survive. Their interdependence is both natural and unnatural. Jack's mother is perhaps one of the bravest characters I have ever had the privilege to encounter, and I can't even begin to imagine how I would survive, let alone keep a child alive, if I found myself in the same situation. Things don't prove any easier once they do escape. Both Jack and his mother face challenges as they try to integrate into the world beyond their small shelter.

This book deals with some tough topics. It is not graphic per-say, but it certainly doesn't shy away from some of the heavier experiences of the characters. Sorry if that statement seems vague. I don't want to give too much away. Ultimately, this book is about more than just survival. It's about courage, determination, resilience, and the bond between mother and child. I'm curious to see how they will translate such a dramatic and complex story to film, with the film version of Room set to release soon.

I can't speak to the reading of this novel, as I listened to the audio version, but I would recommend giving the audio version a chance. I really feel that the way the audio book was done enhanced the story. It made it more personal. I liked how they used different people to read each part, rather than one person using different voices for each character. It made the reading feel more like a play, rather than a novel. Regardless of the format, I do feel that this novel is worth a read, as it is a very touching story.

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